Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Kate Kenny, Professor of Business and Society at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway has just launched her new book, Whistleblowing: Toward a New Theory (Harvard University Press). An introduction to the book is provided by Dr Tom Clonan and Professor Ricca Edmondson. Despite their substantial contribution to society, whistleblowers are considered martyrs more than heroes. When people expose serious wrongdoing in their organizations, they are often punished or ignored. Many end up isolated by colleagues, their professional careers destroyed. The financial industry, rife with scandals, is the focus of Professor Kate Kenny’s penetrating global study. Introducing whistleblowers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Ireland working at companies like Wachovia, Halifax Bank of Scotland, and Countrywide–Bank of America, Whistleblowing suggests practices that would make it less perilous to hold the powerful to account and would leave us all better off. Professor Kenny interviewed the men and women who reported unethical and illegal conduct at major corporations in the run up to the 2008 financial crisis. Using the concept of affective recognition to explain how the norms at work powerfully influence understandings of right and wrong, she reframes whistleblowing as a collective phenomenon, not just a personal choice but a vital public service. A number of people were interviewed for the book in relation to their whistleblowing experiences. Paul Moore worked for HBOS bank in the UK when he challenged a problematic sales culture within the organization; Eileen Foster was an executive vice president at Countrywide until she reported systemic home loan fraud; Olivia Greene disclosed wrongdoing in defense of a colleague at Irish Nationwide Building Society; and UK and US whistleblower, Martin Woods reported a series of money-laundering activities at Wachovia Bank. Speaking about the book, Professor Kate Kenny from NUI Galway, commented: “Genuine whistleblowers are often poorly served and supported by society. I wanted to explore why this is so. Through hearing those who have spoken out, we might begin to re-frame accepted attitudes towards whistleblowers.” Kate Kenny is Professor of Business and Society at NUI Galway. Her work focuses on organisations and particularly on how they affect our daily lives as employees and as citizens. Her aim is to see whether new and innovative theories emerging in the field of organization studies might contribute to these questions. Dr Tom Clonan served as an Irish Army Officer from 1989 to 2000. Dr Clonan became one of Ireland’s most high-profile whistleblowers when his research on sexual violence in the Defence Forces led to a Government inquiry. Today he is also a campaigner for disability rights. He is currently a Security Analyst with The Irish Times, providing in-depth defence and military analysis of fast-moving international events. He also provides expert analysis to RTÉ television and radio, and international broadcasters including the BBC and Sky News. Ricca Edmondson is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway. She is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Tampere, Finland, and Editor of the European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology. Among other work, she is currently carrying out research with colleagues from the US and Canada into forms of motivation to wisdom and virtue. The book launch was hosted by the Whitaker Institute and Management Discipline at NUI Galway. More information about the book, here: http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674975798 -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Psychotherapist, author and trainer, Dr Barbara Dowds will deliver a public lecture entitled ‘Listening to Depression and Anxiety: Human Needs and What Makes Life Worth Living’ at NUI Galway on Thursday, 9 May, at 6pm. During the talk Dr Dowds will address the question as to why depression and anxiety have increased so rapidly in Ireland and worldwide in recent decades. The talk will hear Dr Dowds’ argument that a fragmenting society and an obsession with success and winning have led to a crisis of identity, as people substitute an isolated ‘performing self’ for an authentic connected one. She makes the case that our current crisis of instability and inequality has produced two kinds of human responses. Those who tend to internalise pressures develop depression and/or anxiety. In contrast, there are those who externalise the crisis and express it in the anger, hatred, and blaming we see in populism. Dr Eilis Ward, Lecturer with NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology, said: “While we are inclined to think about depression and anxiety now as an illness, Barbara's work shows that there is a very close relationship between the economy and society and people's deep sense of themselves. In other words, the social environment we live in is hugely important to our mental and emotional stability. Barbara’s work offers a vitally important analysis, that we suffer hugely when our very basic needs are not being met. She points us towards thinking about the social breakdown that late capitalism produces, its competitiveness, individualism and isolation, and the way this causes depression and anxiety. Her work puts basic human need back into the centre of our view, the need to trust and be trusted, the need for belonging, for fairness and the need to have meaningful relationships in our lives. When these innate needs are not met, we can withdraw and become depressed. This talk will be of interest to all and especially to anyone working in the area of mental health.”  Dr Dowds is a Dublin based psychotherapist who has recently published a book entitled ‘Depression and the Erosion of the Self in Late Capitalism’, which investigates the reason for ongoing increases in depression and anxiety in contemporary society The meeting is being hosted by the School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway and all are welcome. The venue is lecture theatre MRA201 in the Ryan Institute Annex (Wards Shop entrance). For more information contact Eilis Ward, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway at eilis.ward@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

The e-Assessment Association names advanced assessment provider Qpercom as the winner of Best Use of Summative Assessment Award 2019 The e-Assessment Association recently hosted their international award programme, the e-Assessment Awards in London. The association highlights advancements in e-assessment across all sectors and industries. NUI Galway spin out, Qpercom was selected as winner for ‘Best Use of Summative Assessment 2019’. Winners were selected from a group of global assessment providers by a panel of highly experienced, international experts. Summative Assessment examines the outcome of courses and stands between the student and their accreditation. Qpercom’s Observe software solution was created ten years ago at NUI Galway to digitalise the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) used in healthcare education to assess clinical skills of students. Manual correction and analysis of OSCEs was extremely time consuming and expensive before Observe. In clinical practice, as in aviation, a person may only get one opportunity to make a critical decision. There is no room for error in clinical assessments which qualify tomorrow’s clinicians to deal with life and death. Today, thousands of clinical assessments are measured in universities around the world using Observe. Dr Thomas Kropmans, CEO of Qpercom and Senior Lecturer in Medical Informatics and Education at NUI Galway, said: “We have supplied Observe to universities worldwide for over ten years, with thousands of students and their examiners benefiting from the technology. Receiving the Best Use of Summative Assessment award with international recognition from this calibre of assessment providers is the icing on the cake for us. Qpercom’s advanced assessment solutions provides detailed psychometric analysis. Our work allows educators to make reliable decisions of who should pass or fail. These decisions are backed up by embedding the Standard Error of Measurement, which should be incorporated in any kind of robust assessment. “Observe assesses our future clinicians and nothing is more critical than assessing life and death situations. We incorporate best practices in Quality Assurance in our software. Our mission to advance assessment will continue, and we are grateful for this recognition of the direction of our work by the e-Assessment Association.” Qpercom spun out from the School of Medicine at NUI Galway in 2008. Originally based at the University’s Business and Innovation Centre with a team of seven specialists, Qpercom provides advanced assessment software solutions to universities globally, including the University of Dundee, Karolinska Institute and the National University of Singapore. For more information about Qpercom, visit: www.qpercom.com or follow on Twitter @qpercom. View the e-Assessment Awards highlights, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-ZzbsTwVHI&feature=youtu.be -Ends-

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

2019 AtlanTec conference at NUI Galway to feature Design Thinking for Teens, Tech Tag World Championships, the Digital Women’s Forum and more The international line-up of expert speakers has been announced for the AtlanTec 2019 conference at NUI Galway on Thursday, 30 May. Now in its fifth year, the conference is a cornerstone of the AtlanTec Festival organised by the non-profit IT Association Galway (ITAG). This year’s conference title is ‘The art of artificial intelligence and machine learning, new paradigm or false dawn?’ The event will combine futuristic thinking, real-life case examples, and deep-dives into technologies and trends. Over 400 business leaders, expert software developers, and technologists are expected to attend the day-long conference. Dynamic keynote talks and panel discussions will feature futurist Denis Rivin, IBM expert Steve Tolle, medical innovator Catharine Bowman, Ally Watson from Code Like a Girl and Microsoft’s Gary Short. Three afternoon parallel sessions will cover Artificial Intelligence (AI) Implementation, Tools and Techniques and the MedTech AI Revolution. Caroline Cawley, CEO of ITAG, says: “Great minds are attracted by the AtlanTec conference’s growing popularity year on year, and by the region’s worldwide IT reputation. We are delighted to welcome such excellent speakers and delegates. The conference will be the endnote to the AtlanTec Festival which kicked off in April. Other events include, Design Thinking for Teens, Music Technology with the Swansea Laptop Orchestra, Tech Tag World Championships, the Digital Women’s Forum Afternoon Tea and a series of schools events for secondary school students and STEAM Inspiration.”  Ireland is at the heart of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) in Europe, with eight of the top ten global software companies based here. The industry employs over 37,000 people and generates €35 billion in exports annually.  David Murphy, Director of Knowledge Transfer and Innovation at NUI Galway’s Innovation Office, said: “The west of Ireland has a range of strong, vibrant technology companies operating in an innovation ecosystem which is supported by world-class education, research, and business supports. This ecosystem provides a platform for companies to have global impact from the region whether they are individual entrepreneurs, scaling indigenous companies, or large multinational corporations.”  For further details on the conference visit: http://atlantec.ie/atlantec-conference/ and follow on Twitter @atlantecfest and on Facebook at AtlanTec Festival.  View short AtlanTec video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76lpiUDG428. -Ends-

Monday, 29 April 2019

Fees for Postgraduate Courses to Remain at EU levels for current and incoming students  NUI Galway today announced that students from Northern Ireland and Great Britain who enrol for postgraduate taught courses for the 2019/2020 academic year will be treated in the same manner as EU citizens for the duration of their course regardless of the nature of Brexit. UK students enrolling on a full-time taught postgraduate course in 2019 will also be considered eligible for the Taught Masters Scholarship Scheme, a scholarship valued at €1,500 awarded to EU students presenting a first-class honours (or equivalent) in a Level 8 primary degree.   The University is keen to address student concerns amid continuing uncertainty around the nature of Brexit. NUI Galway will adopt this approach in 2019 so that all students treated as EU, once in the system, will continue to be so treated for the full duration of their studies. The University is also working with the rest of the system to try to ensure a common approach for students coming in from 2020 onwards. Speaking on the matter, NUI Galway Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “As our University campuses span the west of Ireland and include the border region in Donegal, we are extremely mindful of the impact of Brexit on this island. We are committed to playing our part to equip students and researchers with the tools needed to understand and address issues emerging from this rupture to the EU block, as the European project faces its biggest challenge in a generation.  “As an increasingly uncertain process continues, our Northern Irish and Great Britain students will at least have certainty on their educational status, and we look forward to supporting them in engaging with this new European landscape in the coming years. We would encourage students both in the North and in Great Britain to look to NUI Galway to pursue the next stage of their education. For many Northerners in particular, who might currently be studying in Great Britain, this is the perfect opportunity to come back to Ireland for postgraduate study.”  -Ends-

Monday, 29 April 2019

NUI Galway students who have taken an entrepreneurial journey recently pitched their ideas for a healthcare solution in the mHealth domain. The programme delivered by LaunchPad, NUI Galway’s student entrepreneurship hub, has trained over 30 student innovators develop novel solutions to real world problems which have the potential for global impact. The programme is funded as part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Health which is a network of best-in-class health innovators backed by the EU. The programme focussed on two challenges: supporting those diagnosed with dementia to remain autonomous and independent, and supporting those living a sedentary lifestyle whose health has started to deteriorate. The programme built momentum through an eight week-long series of workshops designed to support students to develop as a team, understand customer discover, design thinking and the lean canvas.  The winning project, Hear Me, is a hearing device designed to assist people with cognitive decline. It has a machine learning aspect to support memory recall, music therapy and voice recognition. The technology adapts and grows with the user.  The winning team were Ross Dempsey, Harshal Deshmukh, Ketan Udaysingh Bhadoriya, Mark Caffery and Hemant Kumar Surouthia with backgrounds in Physics, Business Analytics, Information Systems and Exercise Physiology. The winning team was mentored by Claire O’Sullivan from BioInnovate Ireland.   Second prize was awarded to Zeel, which focused on solving the problem of limited physical activity by individuals who are not motivated and have poor habit-forming techniques. Zeel builds on the human psychology of positive habit-forming, and promotes a healthier lifestyle through real rewards and competitive social interactions. Team Zeel are Joshua Chao, Laura McDermott, Kevin Lee, Paul Walsh and Ciarán McDermott. The team members have backgrounds in Engineering, Science, Business and Medicine. The team was mentored by Dr Robert McEvoy, BioInnovate Ireland. Third prize was awarded to the Unforgettapil team. Market research from dementia care specialists and recently diagnosed patients showed that one problem stood out above the rest; compliance with medication. Unforgettapil tackled this problem through an innovative wearable device which dispenses daily medication. Smart canisters and time-controlled delivery encourages adherence to a medication regime by incorporating it into daily life. Team Unforgettapil include Liezel Ravenscroft, Sarah Murphy, Christopher Patti, Corey Cunningham and Balaji Ayyalusamy Seenivasa Raghavan. The students have backgrounds in Medicine, Engineering and Business Analytics. The team was mentored by Damien Moloney, BioInnovate Ireland. The ultimate goal of EIT Health Campus Entrepreneurship labs is to offer an experiential training programme connecting business, research and innovation with students so they can master the craft of entrepreneurship and innovation through real life cases. NUI Galway is a new site for the EIT Health Campus E-Lab Programme. Natalie Walsh, Executive Director of the programme at NUI Galway said: “We are passionate about our programme expanding and creating new international platforms to showcase our growing student innovation community. The EIT Health E-Lab is an excellent fit for our campus, particularly given NUI Galway’s position as a global hub for MedTech education, training and innovation. Creating these types of opportunities for our students showcase the value of diversity, inclusiveness and team building to innovative practices and having access to world class mentors including our colleagues in BioInnovate Ireland, give students a unique and highly valuable experience.” The top performing teams will travel to Spain in June to represent NUI Galway at the EIT Health Campus E-Lab finals. -Ends-

Monday, 29 April 2019

Marine litter and microplastics have become a huge global issue and their negative impact on marine animals causes great concern. A new study led by marine scientists from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway in collaboration with UCC and Villefranche sur Mer Laboratory has found that microplastics may also impact on important ecosystem processes which facilitate the uptake of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. The research was published in the international peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology. The study’s findings suggest that the uptake and the long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide in our oceans that is fuelled by key organisms may be negatively impacted by microplastics. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas released during the burning of fossil fuels and its atmospheric levels have continually risen over the past couple of centuries. It is naturally absorbed by our oceans through biological, chemical, and physical processes. The research team from NUI Galway, the Villefranche Ocean Observatoire, France and UCC studied how microplastics interact with marine animals called salps. Salps are jellyfish-like animals and they play a very important role in this uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and its downward transport to the sea floor where the carbon gets stored. Lead author of the study, Alina Wieczorek, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, explains: “Our oceans are estimated to have captured one quarter to one half of all human-derived carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the last two centuries and this downward transport of carbon by salps and other zooplankton animals accounts for a major portion of this.” At the sea surface, microscopic algae turn dissolved CO2 into fuel (organic carbon). These algae are consumed by many different animals and form the basis of the marine foodweb. As this organic carbon is passed up through the food chain much of it is respired and converted back into CO2 which is then released into the ocean and the atmosphere. However, some of the captured carbon is transported to the sea floor in the form of sinking particles. This is where salps play an important role. They ingest algae at the sea surface and produce dense faecal pellets, which rapidly sink to the deep sea, carrying with them some of this captured carbon. However, during laboratory experiments carried out at the Villefranche Ocean Observatory the researchers found that when salps ingest microplastics and incorporated them into their faecal pellets they did not sink as fast anymore. Alina Wieczorek adds: “Our study suggests that salp faecal pellets will remain at the sea surface for longer when they contain microplastics and while there, they may get broken down causing the carbon dioxide to be re-released back into the ocean and atmosphere. These findings show that microplastics have the potential to lower the efficiency of one of the most important natural processes occurring within our oceans, that is, the biologically driven transport of CO2 to the seafloor.” The researchers also noted that while alterations in the density of the salp faecal pellets may cause some of them to be recycled in the upper waters, some may still reach the sea floor and transport the microplastics within them to the deep sea. Recent findings of microplastics in the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on Earth located in the western Pacific Ocean, support this theory. Dr Fabien Lombard, a co-author of this study, Villefranche sur Mer Laboratory (Sorbonne Université), explains: “Most studies focus on the quantity of plastic in the oceans, but when looking at these quantities, it appears that a large quantity of the smaller plastic is “missing” and disappears from the sea surface without a clear explanation. Such transport mediated by zooplankton faecal pellets may explain why plastics are even found in deep sediments.” Dr Tom Doyle, senior author of the study from UCC, (formerly NUI Galway), comments: “Our study highlights that marine litter and microplastics may impact on animals and even ecosystems in ways we just haven’t considered yet. However, it is very important to point out that our study was carried out in a laboratory and under controlled conditions. We now need to go out into the field to further test our hypothesis by quantifying the abundance of microplastics found in salps and their faecal pellets in different areas of our oceans.” The study was funded by an NUI Galway postgraduate scholarship and by the PLASTOX Project under the Marine Institute’s Marine Research Programme run by the Irish Government via framework of JPI Oceans. The research was also supported by the European Marine Biological Research Centre-France, whose French state funds are managed by the ANR within the Investments of the Future program. This research was further supported by a research grant from Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geoscience (iCRAG), co-funded under the European Research Development Fund and by PIPCO RSG and its member companies.  To read the full study in Environmental Science and Technology, see: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b07174 Video of the Salp study: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mCLaj9cy9g&feature=youtu.be -Ends-

Monday, 29 April 2019

Renowned film theorist Professor Laura Mulvey to deliver keynote address Monday, 29 April, 2019: Renowned film theorist Professor Laura Mulvey, Senior Professor of Film Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London, and Dr Denis Condon, NUI Maynooth, will deliver the keynote addresses at the 15th Irish Screen Studies Seminar. The Seminar will take place at the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway from 9-10 May. The Irish Screen Studies Seminar provides a unique platform for the presentation of new work – research, practice, and research through practice – by scholars and filmmakers from third-level institutions on the island of Ireland, as well as those working on Irish screen-related topics in other universities and colleges worldwide. Dr Conn Holohan, Lecturer in film at the Huston School and board member of Irish Screen Studies said: “We are delighted to welcome the seminar back to NUI Galway for the first time since 2011. This year will see researchers and practitioners from across Ireland and beyond delivering papers on an exciting range of topics, from contemporary Irish cinema to video activism in Iran. We are particularly excited to welcome our two keynote speakers, Professor Laura Mulvey and Dr Denis Condon.” Professor Mulvey’s keynote address will explore her use of digital technology to remix Hollywood films of the 1950s and will be followed by a screening of her avant-garde classic Riddles of The Sphinx, which she co-directed with Peter Wollen in 1977. Professor Mulvey is responsible for some of the most influential publications in the field of film studies over the past forty-five years, including her 1975 article ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, which remains a foundational text for feminist film theory, and her 2006 book Death 24x a Second, which explored the role new media technologies play in our experience of film.  Dr Condon’s talk will focus on the moral panic generated by the popular press around the supposedly increased working-class criminality engendered by cinema-going in Ireland in the 1910s. Dr Condon is a Lecturer in film at NUI Maynooth and has published widely on early cinema going in Ireland, including the 2008 book Early Irish Cinema, 1895-1921. The Huston School of Film & Digital Media is the leading centre for research and teaching in film and digital media in the West of Ireland. The school offers teaching and research programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels (up to PhD), including the recently launched BA in Film & Digital Media and pioneering MA degrees in Film Studies: Theory and Practice, MA in Film Production & Direction, MA in Digital Media, MA in Public Advocacy and Activism, and MA in Sports Journalism and Communication. The full programme for the Irish Screen Studies Seminar can be found at www.irishscreenstudies.ie.  Further information on the Huston school is available here: http://www.filmschool.ie/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Studies illustrate the potential impacts of changes in clinical guidelines for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease Clinical guidelines have widened eligibility for cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) Evidence to support statin use is limited Statin use impacts large proportion of Irish population and healthcare budgets with potential associated costs rising from €14 million to €107 million per annum New research from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway has examined the impacts of changes to recommendations of clinical guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. The study published today (24 April 2019) in the British Journal of General Practice, calculated that the proportion of a sample of people in Ireland aged over-50 who did not have cardiovascular disease but who could be eligible for statins (cholesterol lowering drugs), increased from 8% in 1987 to 61% in 2016. Follow-up research to this study was also published today (24 April 2019) in the journal BMJ Open, which for the first time exclusively used primary prevention data that examined the evidence to support statin use in primary prevention and found considerable uncertainty as to whether statin use in people without cardiovascular disease is beneficial. Background Statins are cholesterol lowering drugs that are used to prevent cardiovascular disease. They are prescribed to those who already have established cardiovascular disease, (for example, those who have had a heart attack or stroke, which is referred to as secondary prevention) as well as those without prior cardiovascular disease (primary prevention). An earlier study by the researchers, published in September 2018, found that almost one third of adults in a sample of over-50 year olds in Ireland took statins. Of these, almost two thirds took statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, but there was a notable difference between men and women. 57% of men who were taking statins did not have cardiovascular disease compared to 73% of women who were taking statins. Statins are widely prescribed and command a large share of drug expenditure in Ireland and other countries. In 2016, statins ranked as fifth in terms of highest expenditure under the medical card scheme and the second most prescribed type of medicine on the scheme. An increasingly larger proportion of the population are using statins, and this is becoming very resource intensive and arguably unsustainable. Summary of two new studies The British Journal of General Practice study found that while in 1987, 8% of a sample of over-50’s who did not have cardiovascular disease could have been eligible for statins, by 2016, 61% of the same sample would be eligible, with associated costs rising from €14 million to €107 million per annum. In 1987, 40 of the people in the lowest risk category would have had to be treated to prevent one cardiovascular event and by 2016, 400 people would have to be treated for the same impact. The proportion of statin-eligible patients achieving risk reductions that patients regard as justifying taking a daily medicine, fell as guidelines changed over time. The BMJ Open study examined the evidence that underpins statin use in people without cardiovascular disease. Before being prescribed a statin, it is recommended that a person’s baseline risk of cardiovascular disease is estimated. This can be determined by GP’s using risk calculators. If a person’s risk is estimated above a certain threshold, statin therapy may be recommended. In this study, the authors looked at the results from statin trials (reported in systematic reviews) according to peoples’ levels of risk. They found that in most categories of risk, there was considerable uncertainty as to whether statins could benefit the patient. For those who are already at low-risk of cardiovascular disease, the benefit (if there is one) may be so miniscule that it would not justify taking a daily medicine or taking the chance that they may experience side-effects. From the perspective of overstretched healthcare budgets, statin use in some low-risk people may represent overuse of medicine and low-value care thus warranting more careful consideration. Lead author of the studies, Paula Byrne, SPHeRE scholar, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “Increased eligibility for statin therapy impacts large proportions of our population and healthcare budgets. Decisions to take and reimburse statins should be considered on the basis of cost-effectiveness and acceptability to some low-risk patients. One would have to question whether some patients, who may achieve very small reductions in risk of cardiovascular disease by taking statins, would agree to take this medication were they fully informed. From a societal perspective, we need to ask whether or not statin use in such people represents value for money in the health sector.” Findings The overarching aim of the British Journal of General Practice study was to explore the impact of changing clinical guidelines on statins for the prevention of cardiovascular events over time, incorporating patient preferences regarding preventive treatments. This involved four analyses. First, the authors estimated the increasing proportions of people who would be considered eligible for statin treatment according to each of the seven European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society (ESC/EAS) guidelines from 1987 to 2016. Second, the authors estimated the potential cost increases associated with each consecutive guideline recommendation. Third, the ‘numbers-needed-to-treat’ (NNT) to prevent one major vascular event in patients at the lowest baseline risk for which each guideline recommended treatment was calculated, as well as for those at low, medium, high, and very-high risk according to the most recent 2016 guideline. Finally, the authors compared these ‘numbers-needed-to-treat’ with those reported by patients as being the minimum benefit they would need to justify taking a daily medicine. Changes in recommendations for the use of statins have resulted in almost two thirds of over-50’s in Ireland and similar countries being considered eligible for statin therapy. This has implications for the medicalisation of large proportions of the Irish population, as well as for already resource constrained healthcare budgets. The value for money of the widening use of statins should be considered from both a societal and individual perspective. The decision to take and reimburse statins could be informed by ‘numbers-needed-to-treat’, which are large in some risk categories. As seen from the analysis, the researchers found a proportion of their sample would require significantly greater reductions in absolute risk to justify taking a daily medication of statins. To read the full study on the analysis of changing clinical guidelines in the British Journal of General Practice, visit: https://bjgp.org/content/early/2019/04/22/bjgp19X702701 To read the full overview of systematic reviews describing the evidence to support statin use in primary prevention in BMJ Open, visit: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/4/e023085 To read the September 2018 study describing the proportion of statin users in an Irish sample in BMJ Open, visit: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/2/e018524 -Ends-

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Members of the Travelling community officially launched the first Traveller student society in Ireland this week. The Minceir Whiden Society was co-founded this year by Traveller students at NUI Galway and the Galway Traveller Movement. ‘Minceir Whiden’ means ‘Travellers Talking’ in the Cant language, which is spoken by the Irish Travelling community. Riona Hughes, Societies Officer at NUI Galway, said: “The Societies Office in NUI Galway is delighted to be the first to include a Traveller society among their list of societies. We look forward to many collaborations and to support inclusion in third level and look forward to a productive year for the society. Congratulations to all the students involved in the initiative.” The society aims to work towards increasing Traveller participation in third level education, while providing a safe and welcoming space on campus. At present, just 1% of the travelling community hold a third-level qualification, with just 9% of Traveller children completing the Leaving Certificate compared to 86% of the settled population. NUI Galway student Owen Ward said: “One of the main objectives of the society is to empower members of the Travelling community to enter third-level education, while being encouraged and supported by NUI Galway. At present, there is a small number of Traveller students studying at NUI Galway across numerous disciplines. Also, it is of paramount importance to build positive alliances and relationships between Traveller students and the student and staff body at NUI Galway, as well as the wider community.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway is currently recruiting adolescents aged between 12–18 years with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) in Ireland and their parents, to take part in an online self-management programme. The aim of this programme is to empower young people with JIA to self-manage their condition. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is a chronic condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s tissues, causing inflammation in the joints and potentially other areas of the body. It is the most common childhood rheumatic disease. In Ireland, 1,100 children and adolescents live with JIA and, according to Arthritis Ireland, over 100 children are newly diagnosed annually. The disease course can be unpredictable and children often experience symptoms that restrict physical and social interactions and negatively impact health-related quality of life. The Paediatric Rheumatologist-to-patient ratio in Ireland is the second lowest in Europe, which makes accessing care particularly difficult. The NUI Galway project will test an Irish adaptation of a Canadian online programme for managing arthritis combined with a novel peer mentoring programme. This programme will help teenagers learn to make decisions about their health, and meet and be inspired by other young people living with arthritis. Topics covered within the programme include managing symptoms, coping strategies, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and planning for the future. Teenagers who have gone through the programmes in Canada showed improvements in their ability to take care of their own health, their understanding of arthritis, and they have less pain. Dr Hannah Durand, postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Pain Research in NUI Galway, says: “While individually, both the self-management and peer mentoring programmes have been proven effective in improving JIA-related knowledge and self-management, they have never been combined nor have previous trials allowed individual tailoring, which is believed crucial to more effectively meet adolescents’ needs. This pilot trial will test the usability and the effectiveness of this combined programme for adolescents in Ireland. “Online programmes have the potential to increase access to evidence-based supports for teens living with JIA across the country. This pilot trial will provide us with critical information about what works for teens in Ireland specifically. The end product will be a culturally appropriate clinical tool developed in partnership with adolescents with JIA, their parents, health professionals and JIA organisations that will overcome current barriers to accessing self-management care and peer support.” For further information, please contact Dr Hannah Durand at painresearch@nuigalway.ie or phone at 091 495831. For more about the Centre for Pain Research, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/centre-for-pain-research/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

University secures An Taisce’s prestigious international Green Flag accreditation NUI Galway was recently awarded the internationally recognised Green Flag by An Taisce’s Green-Campus programme on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education. The internationally recognised ‘Green Flag’ award was announced following a rigorous assessment process.    The Green-Campus Programme is an international environmental education and award scheme that promotes long-term, whole college action for the environment that empowers both students and staff to create a more balanced campus community and to reduce environmental impacts and associated costs. The Green Flag Award is the result of many years of hard work undertaken to promote best practice in sustainability across five themes which include energy, waste, travel, biodiversity and water.  Environmental, Health and Safety Manager at NUI Galway Lorraine Rushe said: “This award is hugely important to the University as it recognises the engagement by staff and students and the vast effort and hard work that is ongoing in the thematic areas. Each theme poses its own unique challenges but is essential to ensuring that our campus achieves environmental, social and economic sustainability, which will benefit us now and into the future. Attaining the ‘An Taisce Green Campus Flag’ will act as a visual sign of the Universities commitment to sustainability and its achievements to date.” Campus projects in the area of sustainability include: A 34% reduction in energy since 2006, a metric audited and validated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). This exceeds the SEAI national target of a 33% reduction by 2020, which has resulted in a refreshed target of 40% reduction by 2020. This has been achieved through a range of measures, including a combined heat and power plant, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic panels, air to water heat pumps, the introduction of biomass boilers and the implementation of LED high efficient lighting systems across campus. Subscribing to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan in 2018 and introducing a pollinator-friendly planting scheme throughout the campus. The introduction of composting stacks, bird boxes and insect hotels to the Biodiversity Trail and other locations across campus, in addition to the establishment of herb beds and two new fruit gardens, which are used by staff and students and in campus restaurants. Reducing the impact of transport through the University’s park and ride shuttle bus service on campus coupled with the cycle-to-work scheme and the installation of 14 electric car-charging points across campus. A curriculum focus on sustainability with 230 modules across all Colleges that contain an element on, or a focus on, sustainability. Ensuring all disposable cups across outlets on campus are biodegradable. NUI Galway set up a Community and University Sustainability Project in 2015 under the direction of the Registrar and Deputy President, which launched its Sustainability Strategy in 2017. The Green Campus Committee work very closely with the Community and University Sustainability Project (CUSP) team and their work involves spreading information to the wider University audience on issues varying from energy and greenhouse gas emissions to biodiversity, health and wellbeing, the built environment, research and learning and governance and leadership.  Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway and Chair of the Community and University Sustainability Project, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “NUI Galway recognises that we all have a role to play in building a sustainable society and universities have a particular responsibility to promote sustainability through education, knowledge exchange, research, corporate social responsibility and shaping future agendas. A sustainable campus is one which maintains a green and healthy environment, promotes the use of resources efficiently and instils in graduates and staff the importance of tackling environmental challenges.”  Professor Ó Dochartaigh concluded: “This achievement would not be possible without the commitment of the campus community. The buildings and estates team, academics, administrators and students and staff across the campus have all played an important role in achieving the Green Flag. NUI Galway will continue to promote sustainability beyond the Green Campus programme and incorporate it into all aspects of University life as this is of utmost importance to the implementation of our Sustainability Strategy”. Michael John O’Mahony, Director of the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce, congratulated the NUI Galway Green-Campus Committee on their programme. “The commitment of the Green Campus committee and the wider campus community in NUI Galway is evident by the number, range and impact of activities being undertaken. Furthermore, the structures are in place to have sustainability at the core of how NUI Galway operates. The work in the areas of renewable energy and biodiversity are examples of best practice. The teamwork of staff, students and contractors in the Green Campus efforts are to be applauded. We are delighted to officially recognise the efforts of all at NUI Galway and we look forward to continuing to work with them.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Earth Observation and space innovation-driven entrepreneurs and enterprises in Ireland encouraged to participate in Hackathon led by ICHEC founded at NUI Galway The Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC), has announced Ireland’s first Copernicus Hackathon, aimed at promoting the Earth Observation (EO) services sector across the country. The event takes place throughout the IT building at NUI Galway from 10-12 May 2019. The themes for the Hackathon contest represent areas where there is already significant expertise in Ireland, or significant need. These include digital agriculture, marine environment and security, unmanned aerial vehicles, energy and power, air quality and sustainable/ rural/socially responsible development. Hackathon participants will be challenged to come up with solutions for real-world problems using Copernicus satellite data (Copernicus is the European Earth Observation programme), and will compete for a range of awards, including cash prizes. The winners will be offered a place in the Copernicus Accelerator which offers a customised business development scheme for 50 visionary start-ups and entrepreneurs from Copernicus Participating Countries, the EU, Norway and Iceland, every year. A 30-day residency to develop solutions in the European Space Agency’s innovation-focused Phi Lab in Frascati, Italy is another of the prizes on offer. According to Dr Jenny Hanafin, Senior Earth Observation Scientist at ICHEC, founded at NUI Galway: “The space and Earth Observation ecosystem in Ireland has been developing rapidly in recent years and the first National Space Strategy is about to be published, acknowledging that this field has grown significantly. The strategy also establishes the means to support it with further growth. In Ireland there is a small but growing Earth Observation services sector. “ICHEC has recently launched its *SPÉir platform which aims to make satellite data easily accessible for Irish users, and promotes the use and application of Earth Observation and Copernicus data on a national basis. It’s clear that Ireland has a high level of the skills required to further develop this sector and our aim is that the proposed Hackathon event will help to achieve this.” Dr John Breslin, a Principal Investigator at the Confirm SFI Research Centre for Smart Manufacturing and Senior Lecturer at NUI Galway, says: “Hackathon is an ideal confluence point to bring together those with complementary skills – IT developers and designers, entrepreneurs and domain experts - to create exciting new applications based on Copernicus Earth Observation data and services. Ultimately, post event, we want to see more EO and space innovation-driven enterprises in Ireland, both hardware and software, with application areas ranging from smart manufacturing of new EO/space devices to systems tackling climate change or natural disasters.” According to Breslin, throughout the Hackathon the teams will get the opportunity to test out their initial innovative ideas on others, refine those innovations through a prototype, put a plan in place to take those ideas into a viable commercial proposition, and pitch the entire package to judges. Dr Breslin, added: “It’s important that people who are interested in different aspects of Earth Observation and space entrepreneurship attend the event, including those who like to hack or make things, like developers and designers, those who like to hustle and drive business, sales and growth, and those who bring the much-needed topic-specific expertise and know-how in Earth Observation and space. Remember that a technology innovation is nothing without a customer who wants to pay for it, so it must be a needs-led innovation.” The overall aims of the Hackathon are to raise awareness of commercial opportunities and to generate potential start-up, spawn-out or spinout ideas, and where possible provide support pathways to pre-commercial level for successful participants. A more general aim is to highlight the relevance of Copernicus data beyond the Space and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sectors, through the publicity generated by the event. Dr Hanafin, added: “To achieve these aims, we have invited a number of organisations to join us as partners for the event. These partners will allow us to leverage a range of skills that will be important in organising a successful, exciting event, promoting it to the relevant people, and supporting successful participants to take their hackathon ideas to the next level. “We are aiming for 50-60 participants to take part, with skills in Earth Observation, Geographic Information Systems, thematic areas like agriculture, marine, drones, data analysis, data visualisation, app development, web service development, graphic design, programming, project management, entrepreneurship and business development. We encourage anyone with any of these skills to register and take part, as it will be an exciting and fulfilling event.” Alongside ICHEC the event partners include TechInnovate at NUI Galway, Baily Labs, UCC Dept. of Geography, the National Centre for Geocomputation at MU, The National Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI), the OPW, Teagasc, ESA Phi-Lab, ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland, Icon Group, GEO University, Údarás na Gaeltachta and The National Digital Research Centre (NDRC). Register at http://tinyurl.com/cophackie and for further information email cophackie@ichec.ie, check out the Copernicus Hackathon Ireland Facebook event page or follow on twitter @CopHackIE. -Ends-

Thursday, 18 April 2019

NUI Galway is holding the fourth national conference on Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) in research. The theme of this year’s conference is Progressing Together, reflecting the continuous learning and growth of the PPI community. The conference takes place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS), North Campus, NUI Galway from 10am-4pm on Wednesday, 1 May. There’s a sea-change in health research in Ireland: more and more patients are working with research teams to help decide what exactly should be investigated, how research should be designed and conducted, and how research results should be communicated. PPI involves an active partnership between members of the public, patients, researchers and doctors to ensure that the voice of the public or patient influences all stages of the research process. Patients are experts in their illnesses and carers have important knowledge gained from all that they experience. Researchers often do not have personal, lived experience of what they are researching, and hearing from patients about the reality of living with a particular condition provides a powerful insight into what matters most to patients. Conference attendees will hear about PPI from various different perspectives, including people living with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Type 1 Diabetes; the parent’s perspective; the patient’s voice in healthcare; and the use of health data for research. The conference is jointly hosted by the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland and PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway. The HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland is a collaborative group of researchers conducting clinical trials through general practice and primary care. Professor Andrew Murphy, NUI Galway and Director, HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, said: “The public and patient voice needs to be listened to and heard, in order to ensure that our research is effective and meaningful for patients.” Professor Seán Dinneen, Consultant Endocrinologist at NUI Galway and UHG, and leader of this programme says: “PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway is providing training and support to help researchers and patients understand what PPI is and why it matters, and how to build partnerships that allow the public and patients to influence the research we conduct. Patients want to help and have an impact. PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway will help bring this about.” Presenters will attend from the UK, Denmark and the US, including Professor Carolyn Jenkins (Medical University of South Carolina) and Derek Stewart (OBE). Derek is a patient advocate from the UK who will be speaking about “Sustaining PPI – getting the balance right” and what he considers to be the key elements of a successful partnership working from a patient’s perspective and challenging the notion of the “usual suspects”. He will also provide expert feedback as part of a panel for short oral presentations on PPI.  Derek Stewart, said: “I am really looking forward to coming back to Galway. The PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway initiative in Ireland is one of the most exciting and innovative approaches to improving people’s health.” Dr Avril Kennan, CEO, Medical Research Charities Group will deliver a workshop titled “Should researchers be trusted with your health data?” - where attendees will share how they would like to see their health data managed. Avril Kennan said: “The law has changed recently so that scientists must fully inform patients how their health data will be used for research. There are positives and negatives to the new ways of working and we want to tease out what patients think about them. We have an exciting plan to bring the findings from the workshop to policy and decision makers, in the hope of making health research work better for everyone.” The conference is free and open to the public, researchers and all healthcare professionals with an interest in research and in hearing the voice of the patient. The conference will also be streamed live on the day from: www.primarycaretrials.ie. Registration beforehand is essential and for more information, visit: www.primarycaretrials.ie or email info@primarycaretrials.ie, or contact Dr Nikita Burke, Development Manager with HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network, NUI Galway on 091 495308.  The conference is supported by the HRB Trials Methodology Research Network and the Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry (IPPOSI). -Ends-

Thursday, 18 April 2019

University students win three awards including Editor and Newspaper of the Year NUI Galway’s students were presented with three awards at the National Student Media Awards on Thursday night. Hosted by Oxygen.ie, the National Student Media Awards, or SMedias as they are known, are in their 19th Year and honour Ireland’s best young talent in media. NUI Galway’s student newspaper Sin was awarded College Newspaper of the Year. The bi-weekly publication has a circulation of 6,000 and is staffed by students from a variety of courses. The newspaper of the year award is sponsored by The Irish Times whose editors helped to judge this year’s submissions. Bachelor of Arts with Journalism student Áine Kenny took home the Irish Independent’s highly competitive Editor of the Year award. The 21-year-old journalist from Dundalk, Co. Louth, is the editor of Sin newspaper, which is the University’s only college publication. Baitsiléir sna Dána – Cumarsáid (Bachelor of Arts - Communications) student Amy Coy from Loughrea, Co. Galway was present with the Iriseoireacht trí Ghaeilge – Raidió award. Speaking after the award, Áine Kenny said that the win would not have been possible without the Sin team. “The award for newspaper of the year, and editor of the year, was made possible by the wonderful team of volunteers we have working on the paper. This is a group production where everyone plays a part, from our writers, our stellar editorial team, our Deputy Editor Martha and our graphic designer Shannon. I also want to thank the Students’ Union for their continued support and Tom Felle of the Journalism department. Hopefully there will be many more awards to come.” Professor Cathal O’Donoghue, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Science and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, congratulated Ms Kenny and all the other students who were part of team that won awards at the SMedias: “This is a wonderful achievement for Áine and all the student journalists involved in SIN, the student newspaper. These major awards – best student newspaper in the country, best editor, and best Irish language radio documentary – demonstrate the high calibre of learning in our journalism and cumarsáid programmes at NUI Galway. The University has a long history of producing top quality journalism graduates. The University has recently re-launched our journalism programmes and a new BA Journalism and MA Sports Journalism programmes will launch next September.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan T.D., and Commissioner of An Garda Síochána, Drew Harris, will address a major conference on ‘Policing, Human Rights and Communities’ hosted by the School of Law and Irish Centre for Human Rights in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Friday, 26 April. The conference will focus on the main recommendations of the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, published last September, which acknowledged human rights as the core purpose of policing and committed unequivocally to the ideal of policing with communities. The conference will also consider new arrangements for national security that are being put in place as part of the implementation plan for the Commission’s report. Lord David Anderson of Ipswich, KBE, QC, who was the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation for the United Kingdom, will speak about these new structures and the appropriate level of oversight required. The conference will also be addressed by, among others: Emily Logan, the Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission; Liam Herrick, the Executive Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties; Professor Maura Conway of Dublin City University; Dr Mick Feehan, former Assistant Commissioner of An Garda Síochána; Dr Sindy Joyce, Human Rights Activist and Member of the Council of State; and Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Professor Donncha O’Connell, School of Law at NUI Galway and a member of the Commission on the Future of Policing, who is convening the conference, said: “This conference provides an invaluable opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders to engage critically with the process of policing reform currently under way in Ireland, especially as the reform process relates to the core issues of human rights and policing and policing with communities. There is already huge interest in the event and, in order to include the widest possible audience, we will be livestreaming proceedings for the entire day and making videos of each session available afterwards.” To register for the conference visit https://policinghumanrights.eventbrite.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

NUI Galway students were awarded a bursary of €3,000 to make their idea for a better Ireland a reality at the Pathways to Progress event last week. Their winning project, Understanding Le Chéile, seeks to raise awareness of autism in schools and businesses around Ireland. Understanding Le Chéile is a project that empowers people with autism to deliver information workshops that raise awareness of autism in schools and businesses around Ireland. Now in its second year, the Pathways to Progress initiative is a key element of the partnership between Citi Foundation and Enactus Ireland. The partnership aims to provide resources for students to empower people between the ages of 16 and 24 from disadvantaged urban areas around Ireland. Successful projects receive seed funding, intensive training, mentoring and guidance from Citi volunteers and Enactus Ireland staff. NUI Galway student, Caoimhe Farrell, Academic Leader of Understanding Le Chéile, said: “We continue to strive towards making our goals a reality in ensuring equal treatment for everyone in the academic and corporate settings regardless of their physical, intellectual or emotional abilities.” Ronan Lavin, Corporate Leader of Understanding Le Chéile and NUI Galway student, said: “We hope to pave a way for businesses and schools to encourage, build and nurture environments founded on inclusion, collaboration and respect.”  On this year’s finalists, Ray Kirwan, Senior Compliance Officer from Citi, said: “Citi is delighted to have hosted the final Dragon’s Den pitch, as part of our Pathways to Progress programme with Enactus. The judging panel were all really impressed with the quality of the projects and the work the teams put into them. While the panel found it difficult to select one winning project, Understanding Le Chéile stood out for the impact and empowerment for all involved as well as how it has developed over the last 12 months, with more opportunities to grow in the future. To learn more about Enactus Ireland and the Pathways to Progress initiative visit  www.enactus.ie.    -Ends-

Monday, 15 April 2019

Astronomers at NUI Galway are part of an international team which for the first time have used the VERITAS gamma-ray telescopes to measure the angular diameter of stars. The study was published today (15, April 2019) in the journal Nature Astronomy. VERITAS is an array of four 12-metre gamma-ray telescopes located at the F.L. Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona.  They are used to detect very-high-energy gamma radiation from exotic objects in space. They do this by measuring the brief flashes of visible light produced when gamma rays enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Dr Gary Gillanders of the School of Physics, Centre for Astronomy at NUI Galway, explains: “Stars are so far away from us that they appear as points of light in the sky. Their diameters are usually estimated indirectly using measurements of temperature and brightness.” The VERITAS team have directly measured the angular diameter of two stars by using an asteroid occultation method in which the shadow cast on the Earth when an asteroid passes between the star and the Earth is measured. This is a first for telescopes of the type used by VERITAS, and opens up a new window for direct measurement of the size of stars. Amy Joyce, then an MSc student at NUI Galway was part of the observing crew which measured one of the occultations.  Supported by the Irish Research Council, she is now based at the European Space Agency in Madrid. According to Amy Joyce: “The occultation is like a mini solar eclipse, although it is extremely faint and only lasts a few seconds, VERITAS is an ideal instrument to detect it.” Dr Mark Lang of the School of Physics, Centre for Astronomy at NUI Galway welcomed the results: “Normally we use VERITAS to observe objects like the supermassive black hole in M87, recently imaged by the Event Horizon Telescope. Now we have shown that VERITAS can make other types of measurements”. The study was led by Dr Michael Daniel of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Dr Tarek Hassan of DESY, the German high-energy physics institute. The VERITAS collaboration includes colleagues at UCD and Cork IT. To read the full study on Monday, 15 April at 16:00 London time in Nature Astronomy, visit: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-019-0741-z -Ends-

Monday, 15 April 2019

MERLIN is one of four separate clinical trials by Orbsen Therapeutics studying ORBCEL stromal cell immunotherapies designed to treat some of the most challenging diseases  Orbsen Therapeutics, an NUI Galway spin-out biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialisation of stromal cell immunotherapies, announced its second generation immunotherapy ORBCEL-C is being administered to patients participating in MERLIN, a multi-site UK-based clinical trial to determine the therapy’s safety and effectiveness in treating two types of chronic autoimmune liver diseases.  Dr Larry Couture, CEO of Orbsen Therapeutics, said: “Orbsen’s product pipeline featuring ORBCEL immunotherapies has tremendous potential to make a significant impact on illnesses related to diabetes, autoimmunity and inflammation, as well as chronic liver diseases.”  MERLIN is investigating ORBCEL-C’s ability to safely and effectively treat individuals with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a condition characterised by inflammation in the bile ducts, and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), a disease which causes the body’s immune system to attack the liver. If left untreated, both conditions may lead to cirrhosis or liver failure and subsequently require liver transplantation. Dr Stephen Elliman, Chief Scientific Officer at Orbsen Therapeutics and who discovered the ORBCEL therapy at NUI Galway, said: “Patients suffering with PSC and AIH have few therapeutic options today, and most patients require liver transplantation. We are optimistic taking ORBCEL-C immunotherapy to the clinic as a solution to preserve liver function and slow progression of these autoimmune liver diseases, ultimately reducing the need for liver transplants in these patients.” The clinical trial, which will follow as many as 56 patients through the treatment process, is under the direction of Chief Investigator Professor Phil Newsome from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy. Study sites include Birmingham, Oxford and Nottingham. “I am very excited about the potential benefits of this treatment for patients with PSC and AIH,” said Professor Newsome. “There is good evidence the selected cells within this new immunotherapy can reduce liver inflammation and improve liver function. The study aims to prove the treatment’s safety and efficacy, and explore the possibility it may be applied to future clinical trials to address other immune and inflammatory diseases.” Orbsen’s proprietary ORBCEL technology yields nearly 100 percent pure stromal cells, a significant increase in purity when compared to first generation stromal cell therapies. Orbsen is currently enrolling and treating patients in three additional clinical trials to assess ORBCEL’s safety and efficacy in the prevention and treatment of diabetic kidney disease, non-healing diabetic foot ulcers and moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Another trial is pending for patients with several auto-immune disorders. For more information about Orbsen Therapeutics: https://orbsentherapeutics.com/ -Ends-

Monday, 15 April 2019

This summer, researchers, students and industry professionals can apply to take part in the KDU Visual Analytics Summer School, being held at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway. In addition to contributions from invited world-leading researchers and practitioners, the summer school will draw on expertise present in NUI Galway’s Data Science Institute, Lero - the Irish Software Research Centre, J.E, Cairnes School of Business & Economics, and the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies. Visual Analytics is increasingly used to help decision-makers who rely on “Big Data” to make their decisions. It supports analytical thinking and reasoning, by combining advances in areas such as Information Visualisation, Data Mining and Big Data. These combined provide users with interactive interfaces and meaningful processing abilities to draw out insights for their analyses. Invited speaker, Professor Alex Endert of the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech said: “The research and development of tools and skills needed to understand data are becoming ever more important in today’s data-driven society. People, businesses, and governments who have technology to understand and use data will have greater opportunities. Visual Analytics occupies an important space in the space of data science and data literacy. In continuing to advance visual analytics as a discipline, we can continue to increase people’s data and analytic literacy.” Speaking at the announcement of the KDU Visual Analytics Summer School, organiser Heike Vornhagen of NUI Galway’s Data Science Institute said: “Helping people to develop skills in an emerging area that will have a lasting impact on both their research and career prospects is very exciting. It is a fantastic opportunity to spend time learning from how those in other sectors have developed their skills, approach problems, and implement solutions. Our hope is that it becomes a basis for a network of expertise through which future projects can be run”. Despite the growing importance of Big Data for multinational companies, government agencies and in a wide variety of public and private-sector organisations, there are few opportunities for people to upskill and to learn from others in different fields. Participants in the Summer School will be drawn from fields such as data analysis, visualisation, digital humanities, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), business and IT. Dr Noel Carroll of Lero said: “We see that visual analytics is an integral part of our industry research collaborations to combine visualisation, human factors, data analysis, and business value insights to better inform decision-making processes.” The workshop will consist of keynote talks to identify current trends and stimulate thinking, lectures to deepen participants’ understanding of the subject area, and hands-on tutorials to further participation and engagement. The KDU Visual Analytics Summer School will run from 10-14 June at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway. Further details can be found at http://vass.datascienceinstitute.ie/, or by contacting vass@insight-centre.org -Ends-

Monday, 15 April 2019

Adele Gabba, a PhD student in the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, has been awarded the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland Inaugural Postgraduate Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to research.  Originally from Italy, Adele is an Irish Research Council funded PhD scholar, who is currently in the final year of her study. She has been working on synthesis and evaluation of ligands for the macrophage galactose C-type lectin (CLEC10A). CLEC10A is a protein found on the surface of cells of the immune system, and has a role in viral infection, such as infection by the Ebola virus. She has conducted her research mostly at NUI Galway and also travelled for periods to ISAS in Germany to the laboratory of Ulrika Westerlind, supported by an EMBO travel award, and to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (affiliated with the Harvard Medical School in Boston) to the laboratory of Gabriel Birrane.  The award from the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland also acknowledged Adele’s unwavering commitment to supporting and promoting Chemistry within her University and via her active participation in a wide array of public engagement initiatives. Adele has been very active in Kitchen Chemistry, which contributes to public events, such as the Galway Science and Technology Festival. She has also contributed to other events such as FameLab and Soapbox Science. Professor John Cassidy, President of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland praised the excellence of Adele’s research as well as recognising the mentorship she provides to younger students.  Professor Celine Marmion, incoming President of the Institute, offered her congratulations to Adele, indicating she is a most worthy recipient of this award and wished her continued success and happiness in her current and future endeavors. Professor Marmion also offered congratulations to her PhD supervisor, Professor Paul Murphy, to the School of Chemistry and to NUI Galway.  Dr Patrick O’Leary, Head of the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, said: “It’s great to see Adele’s work being recognised. She has truly embraced all that a PhD can offer in terms of her own research excellence, exposure to other research areas, training as a science communicator and inspiring the next generation of STEM students. Once she finishes in NUI Galway we look forward to seeing bright career ahead for her.” The Institute of Chemistry is the professional body representing chemists in Ireland. The mission of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland is to promote Chemistry and to represent the profession of Chemistry in Ireland. -Ends-

Monday, 15 April 2019

As part of a new Spotlight on Research lecture series at NUI Galway’s College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, Dr Maura Farrell from the School of Geography and Archaeology will address the increasingly important topic of ‘Researching the Rural: Going Global and Staying Local’ on Tuesday, 7 May. Dr Maura Farrell is currently the Principle Investigator on the National Rural Network Project and the more recent European Commission funded Horizon 2020 RURALIZATION Project. Dr Farrell has been appointed to many national and international committees and organisations, including an appointment by the Minister for Rural and Community Development to the Monitoring Committee for the Action Plan for Rural Development and by DG-AGRI to an evaluation and reflection group for the LEADER Programme. In her talk, Dr Farrell will outline key aspects of her rural research projects, their directions, outcomes and impacts. Dr Farrell remarks: “Rural research has multiple dimensions and directions, all striving to ascertain current rural endeavours and influence policy and practice. Developing a research trajectory within the rural sphere, requires an exploration of the theoretical, conceptual and empirical boundaries of rural studies. One of the foremost themes supporting such research is the nature of social, economic, political and cultural restructuring of rural areas driven by forces of globalisation, social modernisation and technological innovation.  Entwined in this process is the understanding of rural localities as sites through which these and other influences are conveyed, challenged and replicated.” Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean for Research in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: “The Spotlight on Research series aims to highlight the world leading and ground-breaking research being undertaken across our College. Academics within the College have received national and international recognition for the research they are undertaking, including major awards and research funding. This series provides a platform for us to bring these research achievements to the attention of both the academic community and the wider general public.” The lecture will be held in GO10, Moore Institute at 1pm on Tuesday, 7 May. Upcoming lectures in the series include: On Thursday, 6 June at 1pm in the Moore Institute, Dr Charlotte McIvor, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Dr Siobhán O’Higgins, and Kate Dawson of the School of Psychology, discuss the The Active Consent programme, recently awarded major funding support by the Lifes2good Foundation in partnership with Galway University Foundation and NUI Galway. -Ends-

Friday, 12 April 2019

New laboratory will carry out research in disruptive technologies and nature-based solutions for environmental protection and the Irish biobased economy NUI Galway has officially launched a new research laboratory, featuring the latest analytical equipment to characterise biofuels produced from organic waste as well as the microbial communities which produce these fuels. Professor Piet Lens will lead a team of 25 PhD and post-doctoral researchers in the Department of Microbiology at NUI Galway, which includes almost €1 million of advanced analytical equipment, funded through an investment under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship Programme, ‘Innovative Energy Technologies for Bioenergy, Biofuels and a Sustainable Irish Bioeconomy’. Professor Piet Lens is a leading expert in environmental biotechnology and recently joined NUI Galway as an Established Professor of New Energy Technologies at the University’s College of Science and Engineering. Professor Lens and his team are spearheading this major research project to transform waste and wastewater treatment into production processes as part of a circular economy. The project will develop new technologies to produce biobased renewable fuels (such as hydrogen from dairy effluent) that are generated from waste products (such as butanol from spent brewery grains). These can be added to Ireland’s energy mix, supporting the Government’s strategy for an energy self-sufficient Irish bioeconomy. The laboratory performs research on a whole suite of disruptive, high-tech solutions for waste minimisation and material recycling that are already at our disposal, such as anaerobic digesters, a process used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste or to produce fuels, that will be developed over the coming years. Besides high-tech solutions, nature-based technologies will also be developed with the aim of tackling socio-environmental challenges such as climate change, water security, water pollution, food security and human health. These pollution control technologies are based on processes as they occur in wetlands and algal ponds. Also, the biomanufacturing of new biobased products such as fertilizers and biocommodities (such as polylactic acid and bioplastic). At the launch, Professor Piet Lens, NUI Galway, commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity for NUI Galway to develop new technologies that transform wastewater and waste into energy and biocommodities. The investment of Science Foundation Ireland in this area is a response to the nation’s Climate Action Plan and ambitions to become a self-sustainable island for energy, where renewable biofuels are generated out of our wastes.”  -Ends- 

Friday, 12 April 2019

Next week will see almost 1,500 international neuroscientists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, patient advocates and patient organisations gather in Dublin for the ‘BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience’, the biggest neuroscience festival to be held in Europe in 2019 and the first time to be held outside of Britain. The Festival will take place from the 14-19 April in Dublin.  Neuroscience, by definition, is the science of the brain and nervous system, but it is so much more than these simple words indicate. Our brain is the seat of our personalities, our identities, our thoughts, our emotions, our memories, our motivations, our perceptions, our creativity, our joys and our fears. Neuroscience encompasses everything from how our brains, spines and nerves develop whilst in the uterus, to how they continue to develop and adapt to our environments and lifestyles as we grow through infancy, through adolescence into adulthood, and on to death. It is also the study of brain and nervous system diseases and disorders including genetic conditions like Huntington’s disease; neurological conditions like epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and chronic debilitating pain; and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  Some of the latest Irish research being showcased includes how the bacteria in our gut can influence our brains, how concussion and brain injury affects children’s brains, how exercise can improve brain health in ageing, how medicinal cannabis could be harnessed to treat brain conditions, and many more topics. Lead Irish Organiser and President of Neuroscience Ireland, Dr Eilís Dowd from NUI Galway, says: “The BNA Festivals of Neuroscience are unparalleled in their ability to draw together expertise from across different neuroscience domains and to stimulate cross-disciplinary discussion and collaboration. Hosting the event in Ireland will provide the Irish neuroscience community with the opportunity to showcase the very best of Irish neuroscience research, thereby building and strengthening British, European and International research collaborations and networks. Ultimately, it is such cross-disciplinary, collaborative research that will accelerate the development of new therapies for brain and nervous system conditions.”  One of the unique features of the Festivals of Neuroscience is that they are a celebration of neuroscience that are not just open to the neuroscientists, neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists, but they are also open to everyone else. In parallel with the scientific conference which will be held in the Convention Centre Dublin from 14–17 April, there will also be a Public Festival of Neuroscience that will run in venues throughout Dublin from 13–19 April. A total of 17 public events, coordinated by 30 organisations and 45 individuals, will feature in the programme, and there is something for anyone with an interest in neuroscience Lead Organiser of the Public Programme, Dr Áine Kelly, TCD, said: “The public outreach programme of the Festival of Neuroscience provides wonderful opportunities for the general public to hear about brain health and brain research directly from world-leading neuroscience researchers. Many events focus on neurological or psychiatric conditions, and are designed to encourage interaction between patients, carers, clinicians and researchers. These include events on Huntington’s disease, delirium, depression, teenage mental health and epilepsy. There is a strong arts focus to the programme, which includes films screenings, music and dance performances, a neuroscience-themed art installation and an interactive event on ageing and the arts. The programme caters for all tastes and interests and most events have a social element, with time dedicated to discussion and interaction. There really is something for everyone, so come along, learn, enjoy!” Neuroscience Ireland is Ireland’s official neuroscience society, a charitable organisation that promotes and supports neuroscience research in all of the major Irish academic institutions, as well as in several major Science Foundation Ireland multi-institutional research centres including APC (Microbiome Ireland), CÚRAM (the Centre for Research in Medical Devices), FutureNeuro (the Centre for Neurological Diseases), and INFANT (the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research). Networking and collaboration between Irish neuroscience researchers is facilitated by several neuroscience networks in Ireland including Neuroscience Ireland, the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, Dementia and Neurodegeneration Network Ireland, the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, and the Irish Brain Council, and is supported financially by the Irish Government through Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, as well as through funding from the European Union, the Wellcome Trust, and many other national and international sources, including several Irish patient organisations. For more information about the BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience, visit: http://meetings.bna.org.uk/bna2019/.   Follow on Twitter @NeuroscienceIRL, @BritishNeuro and #BNA2019. -Ends-

Thursday, 11 April 2019

The Irish Centre for Human Rights and School of Law at NUI Galway has won a major EU contract for Irish Law and Social Data Research, once again becoming Ireland’s national focal point for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. This is the second time that the prestigious FRANET-Ireland contract for data collection and research services on fundamental rights issues in Ireland has been awarded to the Irish Centre for Human Rights. The new contract covers a period of four years and will run until November 2022. The research focuses on a number of thematic areas that are reported on annually, these include: Access to justice; asylum, migration and borders; information society, privacy and data protection; gender; hate crime; LGBTI; people with disabilities; racism and related intolerances; rights of the child; Roma rights. FRANET is the EU Fundamental Rights’ Agency’s multidisciplinary research network. The work of the Fundamental Rights Agency is critical in informing EU policy and fundamental rights across the EU member States. The Irish Centre for Human Rights has assembled a team of Ireland’s leading human rights and social science experts, located at academic institutions and in civil society, to analyse and report on the state of human rights in Ireland, and to raise awareness of the public policy importance of the Fundamental Rights Agency’s research and legal opinions. Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and FRANET Senior Expert for Ireland, commented: “We are very pleased to take this leading role in analysing the protection of fundamental rights in Ireland, and thereby contributing to the strengthening of fundamental rights in Ireland and across the EU. We are particularly pleased to partner with Ireland’s leading human rights researchers and civil society advocates to undertake this ground-breaking work.” Under the previous FRANET contract the Irish team of experts led by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, completed a multi-year project on The Right to Independent Living for Persons with Disabilities. The project identified drivers and barriers to the transition to community-based support in fulfilment of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. For more information, contact Emily Brennan FRANET Research Manager, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway at emily.brennan@nuigalway.ie or 091 493946. -Ends-

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

The British Neuroscience Association is hosting the BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience in Dublin this April, the first time that this prestigious event has ever taken place outside of the UK. One event of the festival will take place in Galway, Brain Movie Night at An Palás cinema on Thursday, 11 April from 6pm-9pm.  Two documentaries, ‘Feats of Modest Valour’ and ‘A Tiny Spark’, which were made as part of the Science on Screen initiative will be screened and followed by a reception. Science on Screen is run by CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway and Galway Film Centre, and both of these films look at different aspects of research in neuroscience which are taking place at NUI Galway. ‘Feats of Modest Valour’, directed by Mia Mullarkey and Alice McDowell of Ishka Films was produced in 2016 and introduces us to Tom, Milena and Brian who have Parkinson’s Disease and also to researchers led by Dr Eilis Dowd in NUI Galway, who are working on the BrainMatTrain project which aims to halt or even cure this disease. This film has screened throughout the world and has won multiple international awards.  ‘A Tiny Spark’, directed by Niamh Heery and produced by Caroline Kealy of Swansong Films, is the newest output of the Science on Screen programme and was produced in 2018. In the film, we meet Rebecca, Trevor and Helen, who have each suffered strokes, and we meet the research team, led by Dr Karen Doyle at NUI Galway, who are conducting a study, the first of its kind in the world, to examine the components of blood clots. At this film’s premiere last year, a lively audience Q&A took place afterwards raising many issues around stroke and its treatment in Ireland. The free event is organised by Neuroscience Ireland, Ireland’s Official Neuroscience Society, and is supported by the Galway Neuroscience Centre, CÚRAM, Cerenovus and Science Foundation Ireland. Tickets to the event are free, but places are limited. Bookings can be made at www.eventbrite.com and search for (Brain Movie Night).  For more information contact Mary Deely, Science on Screen, CÚRAM, NUI Galway at mary.deely@nuigalway.ie. Follow on Twitter #ScienceonScreen, #BNA2019, @NeuroscienceIRL, @BritishNeuro. -Ends-

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway will host its Annual Research Day on Wednesday, 10 April in the Hardiman Research Building. Martina Lawless from the Economic and Social Research Institute will give the keynote speech at 12noon on Brexit and trade on the island of Ireland. The theme of this year’s Research Day will be ‘Life After Brexit: What Changes for Ireland?’ No matter what form Brexit eventually takes, the UK’s exit from the European Union will likely have significant effects on many aspects of life on the island of Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. Members of the Whitaker Institute will provide their expert insights into the potential impact of Brexit across a range of areas, including business activity, public policy, politics and the law. Speaking in advance of the Research Day, Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Ireland and the UK are deeply integrated across several dimensions, so it is crucial that we understand fully the range of exposures and risks for Ireland stemming from Brexit. As there remains great uncertainty about the final Brexit outcome, we need to carefully consider a range of scenarios to help businesses and policymakers to take steps to mitigate some of the effects of Brexit on Irish society.” Martina Lawless has been at the forefront of research at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) on the potential effects of Brexit on Ireland. Her evidence on how Brexit would affect trade across various sectors in Ireland has played an important role in informing this country’s preparations for Brexit. The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway is named after the late Dr T.K. Whitaker, widely recognised for setting Ireland’s economy on a path of internationalisation and modernisation. Throughout his illustrious career, Dr Whitaker demonstrated and implemented innovative ideas and approaches to challenges and issues facing our economy and society. The Whitaker Institute has adopted a similarly innovative, multidisciplinary and transformative approach in its research on challenges facing business and society in Ireland today and internationally.   The event will take place in Seminar Rooms G010 and G011, Ground Floor, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway on Wednesday 10 April.   Attendance is free. For registration and to download the full schedule, visit: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/event/whitaker-research-day-2019/       -Ends-

Monday, 8 April 2019

New MA in Creative Arts in autumn 2019 and major GIAF theatre production coming to campus this July NUI Galway and Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) today announced details of a new MA in Creative Arts: Producing and Curation, with applications now open and the first classes commencing in autumn 2019.  This new course is the latest initiative arising from the ongoing partnership between the University and the Festival. The one-year full time programme for the MA in Creative Arts will ensure students develop skills in: Creative producing - putting in place the practical steps needed to turn an artistic vision into a realised project for an audience – whether the work is in the performing arts, literature, visual arts, or an interdisciplinary area. Curation - the assembly and delivery of artistic experiences for audiences, whether those experiences are in the form of arts collections, digital objects on a website, or a programme of performances in a festival (among other possibilities). Over the course of this new MA, students will have ongoing contact with GIAF team members through a regular GIAF-led speaker series as well as participating in SELECTED, the Festival’s professional development programme for emerging artists, theatre makers, curators and producers studying at NUI Galway. This latest development between GIAF and NUI Galway builds on the existing partnership built around a number of initiatives; SELECTED, the Festival Volunteer programme and the University’s role as a key Festival venue hub where, in July 2018, over 50,000 people came onto the campus to attend Festival events taking place across NUI Galway venues.    To coincide with the course announcement, GIAF has announced its first theatre show of the 2019 programme, which will be one of a number of productions taking place on the University campus in 2019. Following their triumphant GIAF debut in 2017 with Tristan & Yseult, the celebrated UK theatre company Kneehigh is back with their theatrical tour-de-force Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) based on John Gay’s The Beggar's Opera. Written by Carl Grose with original score by Charles Hazlewood and directed by Mike Shepherd; Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) is busting with wit, wonder and weirdness. Using their legendary mix of puppetry, physical theatre and live music, the extraordinary cast of actor-musicians shoot and shimmy their way through this timeless story of power and lies in this trail-blazing and much celebrated production. It will run at the Bailey Allen Hall on the NUI Galway campus from 16 – 20 July as part of GIAF19. Dr Charlotte McIvor, current Programme Director and Head of Discipline in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “Students will emerge from this programme as reflective practitioners with diverse transferable practical skills across these two interrelated industries. We aim to produce graduates capable of engaging with the shifting and complex demands of the creative arts industries in Ireland and beyond. To work in this area, you need to have a creative arts knowledge base that is diverse, interdisciplinary and ultimately practical - perspectives this programme emphasizes in the modules and experiences that are part of the degree. Without the work of producers and curators, the greatest works of art in our time would never have reached their audiences. In order to protect the arts and grow our creative industries, we need the best possible people in these roles, and this programme seeks to find and nurture them.” John Crumlish, CEO, Galway International Arts Festival, said: “We are very excited to be involved in this initiative which will play such an important role in delivering the next generation of cultural producers and curators. If Ireland is to compete with the best in this arena, courses such as this will be invaluable in helping create the individuals capable of delivering excellence at both a national and international level.” To view a video on the new MA in Creative Arts: Producing and Curation visit https://youtu.be/8t-nGdd4Klo. For further information, contact Dr Charlotte McIvor at charlotte.mcivor@nuigalway.ie or phone 091 492631. To make an application to this programme, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/creative-arts-producing-and-curation.html     For details about Kneehigh’s Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) at Galway International Arts Festival see https://www.giaf.ie/events/dead-dog-suitcase -Ends-

Monday, 8 April 2019

NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights will host a public lecture on the topic, ‘Gendering Counter-Terrorism’ on Thursday, 11 April, at 5pm. The lecture will be delivered by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, and chaired by Hon Justice Ms Iseult O’Malley, Supreme Court of Ireland. Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin said: “The abuse of counter-terrorism measures is global and scalar. States use the threat (perceived or real) of terrorism to crack down on peaceful protest, limit freedom of speech, suspend women's rights, threaten environmental activists, bloggers, indigenous leaders, moderate political leaders - and sometimes anyone who simply exercises their legitimate human rights to disagree with government. Terrorism and countering terrorism are the most pernicious threats to the protection of human rights in the world today. This crisis has not diminished since the events of 9/11.” Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, commented: “We look forward to welcoming Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin to NUI Galway. The gender dimensions of counter-terrorism measures remain under-explored, yet raise pressing questions of human rights, and equality. Professor Ní Aoláin’s visit to the Irish Centre for Human Rights is an important opportunity for us to address gender equality in counter-terrorism measures taken by States and to hear about the current work of the UN Rapporteur, at a challenging time for multilateral cooperation in the field of human rights.” Places are limited and early booking is advised at https://bit.ly/2K44rKD. For further information visit https://www.nuigalway.ie/irish-centre-human-rights/newsevents/annual-lecture-with-professor-fionnuala-ni-aolain.html, or contact Siobhán Mullally at siobhan.mullally@nuigalway.ie  or 091 493609. -Ends-

Friday, 5 April 2019

New Times Higher Education Rankings Recognise Contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goals The new Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings have placed NUI Galway 20th in the world for addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal for Good Health and Wellbeing.   This is the first edition of the new ranking to measure global universities’ success in delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which includes metrics based on 11 of the 17 SDGs.  SDG 3 relates to Good Health and Wellbeing on the basis that “ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing at all ages is essential to sustainable development.” Speaking today, NUI Galway President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “It’s a positive development that universities’ contribution to the sustainable development agenda is now being measured.  At NUI Galway, we’re committed to working for the benefit of society, and make a distinctive contribution in the area of population health and wellbeing, as the basis upon which all other aspects of society can flourish.”  The rankings measure institutional commitment to supporting Good Health and Wellbeing through teaching, research and knowledge transfer, as well as embodying the goals in internal practices, policies and procedures.  Prof Ó hÓgartaigh continued: “The University ranking reflects the many and varied activities of our University community in this area, from our contribution to EU-wide physical and mental health initiatives to working with the public on activities from sports to mindfulness.  We look forward to illustrating our distinctive commitment to these sustainable development goals as we develop our University strategy.”     ENDS