Friday, 18 October 2013

City Direct Buses Are First Private Bus Fleet in Ireland To Install Mobile Defibrillators City Direct has just announced the introduction of mobile defibrillators on their NUI Galway Park & Ride shuttle buses – which operates to and from the college for more than 17,500 students and 2,000 staff members. City Direct is currently the largest omnibus operator outside public service provider Bus Éireann. The company has just installed defibrillators on two of their buses and plan to roll it out to the rest of its fleet in 2014. This also means that every City Direct driver will be first aid trained, indicating a massive investment from the company into the health and safety of their passengers. Putting the customer first, City Direct was looking to do something special, something that no other bus company was doing, at no extra cost to the customer. More people die in Ireland every year from cardiovascular disease than any other disease. It accounts for 36% of all deaths and is a major cause of disability. Defibrillation is the recommended treatment for the life-threatening condition - cardiac arrest when the heart stops working. The defibrillator delivers a charge to the heart that allows the normal heart rhythm to be re-established. Currently, the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest is thought to 1%. This is linked to a breakdown in the four necessary steps; the Chain of Survival to be taken as soon as a person suffering a cardiac arrest: 1. Early Access – phone 112 for an ambulance immediately. 2. Early CPR  3. Early defibrillation 4. Early advance care in the hospital. These steps, the first 3 of which can be provided by City Direct staff increase the patient’s survival rate significantly – by as much as 50% if the casualty is defibrillated within 5 minutes of collapsing. Dr Kieran Loftus, NUI Galway Executive Director of Operations said “NUI Galway welcomes City Direct’s Provision of AEDs on their on-campus Park & Ride Buses. This complements NUI Galway’s own AED programme and helps ensure that the University community is better prepared to respond to cardiac emergencies.” Since 2009 City Direct has operated a park and ride service on behalf of NUI Galway, since 2009, providing a shuttle bus operating to and from the college.  The 500 car space car park is located at Corrib Village and the Park and Ride facility is accessed off the Upper Newcastle / Moycullen Road (N59) via the entrance to Corrib Village. They will also be introducing Wi-Fi on their buses in the near future and are exploring the possibility of being the first “Leap” card operator in Connacht. -Ends-

Friday, 18 October 2013

NUI Galway undergraduate student, Saorla Molloy, was recently awarded the Hamilton Award in Mathematics by the Royal Irish Academy (RIA). Awards were presented to students of Mathematics in nine of the Higher Education Institutions in Ireland. Saorla, from Taylors Hill, Galway City, is currently in the final year of her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics. Saorla was judged to be the most outstanding student in all the mathematical degrees taught in NUI Galway. Professor Michel Destrade, Head of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, said: “We are very proud of Saorla’s stellar achievements. She will have no problem finding a fully funded postgraduate position after her degree if she wishes to continue in that direction, and we hope that her example will inspire more female students to pursue mathematical and scientific studies.” The recipients of the Hamilton Award in Mathematics receive a scroll and €250 cheque, generously sponsored by Arup Consulting Engineers. Its Director, Fergus Monaghan, speaking at the prize giving ceremony, said “Arup is delighted to support the RIA and the Hamilton lecture series. We recognise that graduates are key to our future, in particular in the fields of Science and Mathematics. Arup is happy to recognise and support this year’s award winners.” This event formed part of Hamilton Day activities at the RIA which each year celebrate Hamilton’s life and contribution to mathematics. It took place on October 16th, the anniversary of the day in 1843 that William Rowan Hamilton scratched his fundamental formula for quaternion multiplication on Broome Bridge in Dublin. A replica of his inscription is on permanent display on the ground floor of Áras de Brún in NUI Galway. This year, Sir Roger Penrose from Oxford University delivered the Hamilton Lecture entitled Twistor Theory: A Developing Hamiltonian Legacy. -Ends-

Friday, 18 October 2013

Download large version of image here: Leaving Certificate Excellence Scholarships 2013 NUI Galway recently celebrated the success of a select group of first-year students with a special ceremony on Thursday, 17 October, in recognition of the high points they achieved in the recent Leaving Certificate Examination. As part of the University's annual Excellence Scholarships, 57 students received €2,000 each, along with a specially designed NUI Galway scroll. Each year the Excellence Scholarships are given to new entrants at NUI Galway who reached a minimum of 560 points in their Leaving Certificate examination, except in Medicine. For Medical students 10 Scholarships were awarded certificates, based on the combined results in the Leaving Certificate and the new Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). The Excellence Scholarships are designed to recognise and reward Leaving Cert success for the highest-achieving students, and encourage their ongoing commitment to academic excellence during their time at NUI Galway. The awards may be held with any other scholarships or grants, including the University's Postgraduate Scholarships, Mature Student Scholarships, Sports Scholarship Scheme and schemes specific to individual colleges for those who excel in their University exams. Speaking at the award ceremony, NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne, who presented the cheques to each individual winner, said: “I am delighted to present the scholarships to these 57 outstanding individuals in recognition of their academic talent. NUI Galway constantly strives to support and promote academic excellence across all disciplines. The purpose of these Awards is to encourage each student to develop his/her academic potential to the fullest, by setting a realistic threshold of excellence and rewarding every student who attains that level. It is also a chance to give due credit to their parents and teachers for their important contribution to such success.” This year Excellence Scholarships were awarded to students from 40 individual schools throughout Ireland. The winners represented 14 counties including Clare, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo and Tipperary. -Ends- Ceiliúradh in OÉ Gaillimh ar Scothmhic Léinn a rinne Éacht san Ardteistiméireacht Rinneadh ceiliúradh in OÉ Gaillimh le gairid ar ghrúpa ar leith mac léinn chéad bhliana ag searmanas speisialta Déardaoin, an 17 Deireadh Fómhair, mar aitheantas ar na pointí arda a ghnóthaigh siad i Scrúdú na hArdteistiméireachta. Mar chuid de shearmanas bliantúil na hOllscoile le Scoláireachtaí Sármhaitheasa a bhronnadh, bronnadh scoláireachtaí ar fiú €2,000 iad mar aon le scrolla speisialta ar 57 mac léinn. Bronntar na Scoláireachtaí Sármhaitheasa gach bliain ar mhic léinn atá díreach tosaithe ag freastal ar OÉ Gaillimh agus a fuair 560 pointe, ar a laghad, i Scrúdú na hArdteistiméireachta, seachas mic léinn leighis. Sa Leigheas, bronnadh 10 Scoláireacht, bunaithe ar thorthaí na hArdteistiméireachta agus na Tástála Iontrála nua (H-PAT Ireland) araon. Tá na Scoláireachtaí Sármhaitheasa ann chun luach saothair a thabhairt do na daltaí is fearr a n-éiríonn leo san Ardteistiméireacht, agus chun a dtiomantas leanúnach i bhfeabhas acadúil a spreagadh le linn a dtréimhse in OÉ Gaillimh. D’fhéadfaí go mbeadh scoláireachtaí nó deontais eile ag an té a fhaigheann na scoláireachtaí seo, Scoláireachtaí Iarchéime na hOllscoile, Scoláireachtaí do Mhic Léinn Lánfhásta, Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt na hOllscoile agus scéimeanna a bhaineann go sonrach le coláistí agus iad siúd a n-éiríonn thar barr leo sna scrúduithe Ollscoile san áireamh. Ag labhairt dó ag an searmanas bronnta, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, a bhronn na seiceanna ar na buaiteoirí ar fad: “Is cúis áthais dom na scoláireachtaí seo a bhronnadh ar an 57 duine den scoth seo mar aitheantas ar a gcumas acadúil. Déanann OÉ Gaillimh iarracht i gcónaí tacú le feabhas acadúil i ngach uile dhisciplín agus é a spreagadh.  Tá na Gradaim seo ann le gach mac léinn a spreagadh le lántairbhe a bhaint as a gcumas mar mhic léinn, trí thairseach réalaíoch feabhais a leagan amach agus luach saothair a thabhairt do gach mac léinn a bhaineann an leibhéal sin amach. Deis atá ann freisin le haitheantas a thabhairt don tsárobair atá déanta ag a dtuismitheoirí agus ag a múinteoirí.” I mbliana bronnadh na Scoláireachtaí Sármhaitheasa ar scoláirí ó 40 scoil ar fud na hÉireann. Bronnadh scoláireachtaí ar mhic léinn as na 14 chontae seo a leanas – an Clár, Dún na nGall, Baile Átha Cliath, Gaillimh, Ciarraí, Cill Chainnigh, Liatroim, Luimneach, Longfort, Maigh Eo, Muineachán, Uíbh Fhailí, Sligeach agus Tiobraid Árann. -CRÍOCH-

Monday, 21 October 2013

NUI Galway will host the Spring Postgraduate Open Day on Tuesday, 5 November, from 12-4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, as well as doctoral research options. With one of the broadest portfolios of postgraduate teaching and learning in the country, NUI Galway’s Postgraduate Open Day will offer potential students the opportunity to meet academic staff and current students. With over 70 information stands, information will be available on courses, scholarships, fees and other practical considerations. Talks on funding opportunities will take place, along with presentations on how undertaking a postgraduate course in NUI Galway can boost your career opportunities. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Officer at NUI Galway, says that “a postgraduate qualification broadens your skills-set, increases your specialist knowledge, and can improve your job prospects: over 91% of our graduates are currently employed or are in further study within six months of graduating. Making an online application to an NUI Galway postgraduate programme is so easy; it takes less than ten minutes and it could be the best ten minutes you’ll ever spend investing in your future.” NUI Galway offers many new and unique programmes, building on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative research centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. NUI Galway also offers postgraduate conversion courses, where students can change their study-direction at postgraduate level and perhaps then move into a more buoyant field. John Hannon, Head of NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre says “Irish graduates have been ranked top in Europe in terms of how employers rank graduates, and postgraduate study can definitely boost employability. Over the last three years postgraduate numbers going in to employment has grown consistently and a postgraduate qualification allows you to recession-proof your CV. NUI Galway has extensive and well-established links with employers, professional bodies, research organisations, and commercial and voluntary sectors which can benefit you in your job search.” To book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day or register on the day. To apply for an NUI Galway postgraduate course visit www.pac.ie/nuigalway. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

NUI Galway has launched its “Online Learning at NUI Galway” website showcasing over sixty programmes across eight disciplines including IT, Science & Technology Studies, Social Sciences, Medicine, Nursing Studies and many others.  All the programmes featured are available in a part-time, blended learning or online mode.  “Last year, over 1,300 students undertook courses via flexible learning at NUI Galway”, says Nuala McGuinn, Director of Lifelong Learning at NUI Galway. “Technological advances and online learning systems mean that the University’s reach is now far greater. Facilities such as Blackboard are used widely in the University’s teaching to facilitate online communications between students and lecturers.  The number of non-traditional students at NUI Galway has increased significantly from 16% of the overall student population in 2006 to almost 23% in 2013.” The array of programmes NUI Galway offers gives students an opportunity to up-skill in an area of personal and professional interest over a manageable timeframe. Each programme and module consists of a set of learning materials, which are specifically designed for online or blended learning. They facilitate independent study, are self-instructional in nature and are designed for students working at home. Students who register for a blended learning programme should expect to attend seminars, laboratory, or skills sessions on-campus or in an outreach location. The number of sessions that students are required to attend will depend on the programme chosen.  “Students who register for a fully online programme will complete all course work, including examinations, online”, explains Nuala McGuinn. Further developments in extending the reach of the University beyond the traditional lecture theatre has been the development of a number of Open Online Courses, known more widely as MOOCS (massive open online courses) by University staff.  “These Open Courses do not carry any formal academic credit, they are designed purely for self-study, general interest or professional development and span a range of subject areas”, highlights Dr Iain MacLaren, Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at NUI Galway. “These courses will be made free to the general public and include areas such as Irish Studies – history and archaeology, Planning Change and Innovation, - Education, and areas related to research expertise in the University”.  The Planning Change and Innovation course has recently commenced, while opportunities to register for the other free Open Courses will be advertised at different stages during the 2013-2014 academic year. Internationally, NUI Galway is a member of the prestigious group of European Universities, the Coimbra group.  As a member of Group’s e-Learning Task Force, NUI Galway are organising a series of online seminars on a range of aspects relating to technology and the future of higher education. For further information on the programmes available visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/onlinelearning/ or email onlinelearning@nuigalway.ie  -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

NUI Galway and WIT study finds healthy numbers of Pine Marten in the Midlands, but rare in the East An NUI Galway study on Ireland’s most elusive mammal, the native pine marten, is to be published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research. The study, which was collaboration between NUI Galway and Waterford Institute of Technology, was funded by The Irish Research Council and the European Squirrel Initiative, and led by Dr Emma Sheehy and Dr Colin Lawton of the Ryan Institute’s Mammal Ecology Group in NUI Galway.  The study, which involved the use of DNA analysis to assess pine marten population abundance in the midlands and the east of Ireland, found that the pine marten has recovered to healthy numbers in the Irish midlands. “Pine marten numbers in the midlands appear to be slightly higher than other parts of Europe” says Dr Sheehy. “This is likely to be a result of both a lack of competition with other terrestrial mammal species, and the relatively warm winters and lack of seasonality we experience in Ireland, compared with much of the pine marten’s natural range. However, it is important to note that we actually know very little about the true potential of contemporary pine marten numbers in much of Europe, as pine marten populations have been decimated by human impacts historically as a result of hunting, persecution and deforestation.”  The pine marten is a slow breeding species, very sensitive to loss of habitat and persecution and a population can take a very long time to recover from such impacts. In Ireland, the pine marten has been protected by law since the late seventies, and this has helped the population to recover. “However, while we have recorded healthy numbers in the midlands they are still quite rare in the east and still absent altogether from some parts of the country” says Dr Sheehy.   DNA analysis was also used to determine which mammals Irish pine martens were feeding on and where. The woodmouse was found to be the most frequently consumed mammal in the pine marten’s diet, and the first evidence of the pine marten preying upon the invasive North American grey squirrel was also recorded by the group. “We were particularly interested in how often squirrels feature in the diet of the Irish pine marten population” says Dr Sheehy. The study reveals that the native red squirrel has an extremely low frequency of occurrence in the diet, but in areas that the invasive grey squirrel is still present, it features significantly more frequently than the native red. “This is likely to be a result of differences in ecology between the red and grey squirrel. Red squirrels are suitably adapted to living with a tree-climbing predator such as the pine marten and indeed they have co-existed successfully in Ireland and Europe over many millennia. In contrast, the grey squirrel, which originates in America, lives in much higher numbers and is less agile than the red squirrel, making it both an easier prey item to catch, and also much more numerically available too” says Dr Sheehy.  An interesting element of the study was that where pine marten numbers were found to be high, such as the midlands, the grey squirrel was either absent or rare, even in sites where they had previously been very well established. “So much so that we eventually had to use a specially trained scent detection dog from the UK to help us find evidence of pine marten in the east where the grey squirrel was available to eat” says Dr Sheehy.    Dr Sheehy and Dr Lawton expect to have further insights from their research into the relationship between red and grey squirrel distribution and pine marten abundance published later this year. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Ronan Havelin, a PhD student from NUI Galway’s Medical Physics research group in the School of Physics, recently received the SPIE-Newport Research Excellence Award. Ronan, from Salthill, Galway City, was awarded the prize for a paper he presented on ‘A SPECT imager with synthetic collimation’ at the Optics + Photonics symposium in San Diego. The Optics + Photonics symposium is one of the two largest SPIE conferences. Dr Mark Foley, Principle Investigator for this research project at NUI Galway, said: “I would like to congratulate Ronan on winning this prestigious international award that recognises his significant contribution as a young research physicist to the development of this novel molecular imaging technology.” Ronan’s paper on ‘A SPECT imager with synthetic collimation’ he said, “is an important contribution to the research into SPECT imaging and is part of a large multidisciplinary collaboration funded by the United States National Institutes of Health, and by Science Foundation Ireland. Key investigators in this project are Prof H Barrett and his CGRI group at University of Arizona and researchers in the Discipline of Surgery and at REMEDI, NUI Galway.” SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves more than 235,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided over $3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2012. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Dr Manus Biggs, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) investigator with NUI Galway’s Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) is one of six Irish researchers to receive a prestigious Career Integration Grant (CIG) award from the Marie Curie Research Fellowship Programme. Dr Biggs will initiate a new research programme which will focus on the development of nanobiomimetic electrically active scaffolds for bone regeneration, with an aim of regulating cellular recruitment to a site of injury.   Bone tissue regeneration remains an important challenge in the field of orthopaedic surgery and sees a transplantation frequency second only to that of blood. Bone grafting is the current standard treatment; however, given the inherent limitations of this approach, bone tissue engineering and advanced biomaterials that mimic the structure and function of native tissues hold potential as alternative strategies to regeneration. Current studies in orthopaedics suggest that further biomimicry is required before a complete solution to bone regeneration can be delivered. Furthermore, evidence is gathering apace on the importance of minute electrical cues on cell differentiation and function, thus, new research must focus on understanding the cellular response to subtle changes in electric fields and how these influence cell function and tissue regeneration. Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB said: “This Marie Curie award is further indication of the relevance of NFB’s research within Europe and the importance of NFB’s translational research programmes, which are focused on developing novel and exciting biomimetic materials for the next generation of medical devices. We look forward to developing this research in conjunction with our industrial partners in the very near future.” Dr Biggs’ recently funded CIG project will focus on creating nanoscale fibres from piezoelectric polymers and incorporating these into a mesh-like scaffold that mimics the natural bone matrix. Importantly, these scaffold materials can be utilised for the regeneration of large bone defects, which do not undergo spontaneous regeneration normally. -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Convention on the Constitution is preparing to hold its first meeting west of the Shannon in Galway next week. The meeting will take place in NUI Galway (Áras Moyola Lecture Theatre, North Campus) on Wednesday, 30 October at 7.30pm, and members of the public have been invited to attend. The meeting in Galway is one of 9 public meetings across Ireland in October and November. These meetings will help to set the agenda as the Convention selects a number of constitutional issues to look at in the final module of its work programme. The next plenary meeting of the Convention (in Dublin) is on November 2nd and 3rd to discuss the removal of the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution. Following this meeting, the Convention will be free to make recommendations for further constitutional amendment as it sees fit. The meeting in NUI Galway will be addressed by guest speaker Professor Donncha O'Connell who is Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway. Professor O’Connell is an expert on Constitutional Law and European Human Rights. Speaking today, he said: “The Convention on the Constitution has made some very worthwhile recommendations for constitutional reform in the past year. The Convention is to be commended for organising a series of meetings around the country to ascertain the views of citizens and members of the public on what other issues of constitutional reform it should address in the remaining period of its existence. Every effort at deliberative democracy should be valued. Citizens of Galway and the surrounding areas should avail of the opportunity to have their views heard in a forum in which those views will be respected and valued. I hope there is a great attendance with vibrant and challenging contributions from members of the public.” The Chairman of the Convention on the Constitution, Tom Arnold, said: “I am delighted to announce that we will be visiting Galway to listen to the wide range of issues which citizens believe that the Convention on the Constitution should consider. Over the last year we have received many thousands of submissions and we are looking to forward to hearing the detail of these issues first-hand from members of the public. The Convention on the Constitution is citizens’ forum and it is essential that Irish citizens are able to make their views known and have their say. Members of the Convention are very keen to hear citizens' views and I would like to welcome people living in Galway to come along and get involved in the process.” The Convention session hosted by the School of Law at NUI Galway will be streamed live on Wednesday October 30th beginning at 7.30pm at www.nuigalway.ie/constitutionalconvention. Further information: www.constitution.ie -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Arjumand Younus, a Computer Science PhD student at NUI Galway has won the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. This is the first time someone from Galway has won this prestigious award and an honour for the College of Engineering and Informatics and the University.  The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship aims to encourage and support women to excel in computing and technology and become active role models and leaders in the field. Arjumand grew up in Pakistan which is well-known for providing outsourcing services in information technology. Arjumand’s passion for Mathematics since she was young has led her to Computer Science. She is the recipient of an NUI Galway Hardiman Scholarship led which allowed her to undertake a PhD in computing at the University. Dr Colm O'Riordan, Arjumand’s supervisor at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to advise and work with a student of Arjumand’s calibre. She is very deserving of this prestigious scholarship and I know Arjumand will continue to achieve further success in the field of Computer Science in years to come.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Reáchtáladh Seimineár Cumarsáide in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, An Cheathrú Rua le deireanas. Ba é an fear gnó agus an ceamaradóir aitheanta, Cian de Buitléar, a d’oscail an Éigse go hoifigiúil ar an Aoine, 18 Deireadh Fómhair agus bhí deis ag na mic léinn agus ag an bpobal casadh leis féin agus leo siúd atá ag saothrú i réimsí difriúla d’earnáil na meán. Orthusan a bhí i láthair bhí an t-iriseoir / craoltóir Róisín Ní Eadhra agus an t-eagarthóir físe Conall de Cléir. Roinn iar-mhic léinn de chuid an Acadaimh/ OÉ Gaillimh a n-eispéireas leis an slua agus ina measc bhí Gearóid Mac Donncha, Eagraí Stiúrtha Nuachta RTÉ Raidió an Gaeltachta, Muireann Ní Chíobháin, taighdeoir agus láithreoir teilifíse le RTÉ, Loretta Ní Ghabháin, comhfhreagraí sóisialta Nuacht TG4 agus stiúrthóir an chomhlachta LorGMedia; Eoin Ó Loideáin, scríbhneoir leis an iris Nós agus Katie Ní Chonghaile atá ag obair leis an gcuideachta Carr Communications.  Is faoi chathaoirleacht Norita Ní Chartúir, Feidhmeannach Cumarsáide in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge a bhí an ócáid seo. Chuaigh na haoichainteoirí go mór i gcion ar an lucht éisteachta agus léirigh siad dóibh an éagsúlacht, na dúshláin, na scileanna agus dar ndóigh an buntáiste a bhaineann leis an nGaeilge sa réimse fostaíochta seo. Mhínigh siad gur iomaí cor atá i saol na cumarsáide agus mhol siad do na mic léinn gach uile dheis a thapú agus dua a chaitheamh lena gcuid oibre. D’fhéadfá a rá go raibh an teachtaireacht chéanna acu ar fad: “An té a chuireann san Earrach, baineann sé san Fhómhar!” Tá beagnach 100 mac léinn ag staidéar ar bhonn lánaimseartha ar champas Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh faoi láthair mar atá siad ag tabhairt faoi BA sa Chumarsáid i measc cúrsaí eile. Tuilleadh eolais ó Odí Ní Chéilleachair, odi.nicheilleachair@oegaillimh.ie, 091 595101/ 086 8643125 nó Aoife Ní Ghabhann, a.smith16@oegaillimh.ie, 091 595101. -Críoch-

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

New findings investigating the influence of a stress-sensitive genetic background on pain have been published in the leading journal in the field Pain, by NUI Galway researchers. The work, funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council, was carried out by Dr David Finn and his research team in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Centre for Pain Research and Galway Neuroscience Centre at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, NUI Galway. Heightened pain in individuals who are stressed, anxious or depressed is a widely recognized but poorly understood phenomenon. A key factor is the contribution of genetic background and its influence on stress responding and emotional processing. A particular genetic background can predispose individuals to higher stress, anxiety and pain responses but it is not known why.  Previous findings have shown that pain is subject to influence by marijuana-like chemicals called endocannabinoids in a brain region called the rostral ventromedial medulla.  Working with Dr Finn, first author Dr Kieran Rea was able to show that a genetic background associated with higher stress and anxiety responses was associated with a greater pain response and a blunted response of these endocannabinoids in the part of the brain called the rostral ventromedial medulla. Furthermore, this enhanced pain response was prevented by a drug that increased levels of these endocannabinoids in this part of the brain.  Further experimentation revealed that blockade of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor, at which these endocannabinoids act, exacerbated the pain response. An increased understanding of how genetic background associated with stress and anxiety can influence pain is important from a fundamental physiological perspective and may also aid the identification of new ways of treating  persistent pain and the impact of  stress-related psychiatric disorders such anxiety or depression. Dr David Finn, Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre, Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway and study leader says: “The link between emotionality and pain is fascinating and highly complex.  This research suggests a key role for the brain’s endocannabinoid system in a genetic background prone to heighted stress or negative emotion. This research, which was funded by a grant from Science Foundation Ireland, advances our understanding of the neurobiology of pain and may facilitate the identification of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of pain and psychiatric disorders.” Rea K, Olango W, Okine B, Madasu M, McGuire IC, Coyle K, Harhen B, Roche M, Finn DP (2013) Pain; Online publication: 24 Sept 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2013.09.012 -ends-

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

NUI Galway Researchers part of ROBUST, an EU project to capture business community relationships Online communities and enterprise social networks help employees and customers connect and collaborate. They allow employees and customers to talk about their experiences and find answers to questions about company products and services.  Ensuring the success of such online communities is a crucial problem for companies. How can a company make sure that the needs of hundreds of thousands or even millions of members are satisfied? The EU project ROBUST provides novel analytical tools that uncover the parts of a community that are successful and the areas that exhibit problems. To achieve this, ROBUST investigated the objectives of users in business communities and how these users interact with each other. For example, users often know exactly the information that they are looking for. If they repeatedly cannot find this information, they will reduce their activity, will collaborate less with others and eventually leave the community. The project offers a dedicated website to demonstrate, with example applications and videos, how ROBUST technologies can identify dissatisfied users and how different strategies can be applied to determine trends within communities Using a novel visualisation metaphor, ROBUST presents the opinions of users on company-relevant topics as an aquarium. A bad atmosphere in the social network, which means that many negative statements are encountered, is visualised by turbid water and many cavorting sharks. Clicking on the surrounding corals reveals the topics that are being discussed in a negative or positive way. This visualisation provides an intuitive and immediate insight into the state of the community. Using a demonstrator application of ROBUST technology, the software provider SAP AG, one of the project partners, reveals insights into the SAP Community Network (SCN) – a community with more than 2 million members. The ROBUST demonstrator identifies the forums that are flourishing, those that will become unpopular and the underlying trends. Even in large networks this technology allows community managers to keep track of the situation and developments and to identify experts and influential users. More than 600,000 employees of IBM use the IBM Connections platform to exchange ideas and business-relevant information. ROBUST analyses how these business communities develop. The application identifies the branches of the company that are collaborating well and the users that play a central role in this process. Although the "ROBUST" project officially finishes on the 31st of October, its technology will continue to make many communities happier into the future. Further information is available at http://www.robust-project.eu or http://www.robust-project.eu/videos-demos. For more information contact Professor Steffen Staab at staab@uni-koblenz.de -ends-

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Award is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NFSC) Drugs with an increased lifetime in the circulation and improved activity for a broad range of medical conditions are the goal of a strategic new funding award to researchers at NUI Galway and Dalian University in China. Dr Gerard Wall, based in Microbiology and the Network for Excellence in Functional Biomaterials (NFB), a Science Foundation Ireland funded strategic research cluster, and Dr Xuejun Hu, of the Dalian University Medical School, will coordinate the prestigious grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). The award will fund a four-year research programme, beginning in January 2014, to investigate the expression of glycosylated antibody fragments in E. coli and study the effects of engineering the attached sugar components on their therapeutic potential. Antibodies are naturally occurring proteins that are produced by the immune system to protect against pathogens and other foreign substances in the body. Due to their high specificity and strength of binding to their targets, they have enormous potential in the delivery of cytotoxic drugs to cells such as cancer cells, or in targeting of regenerative therapeutics to particular tissues or cells. The focus of the present funding will be to develop improved antibody fragments, expressed in Escherichia coli, with increased stabilities and improved efficacies in vivo through the attachment and manipulation of glycan (sugar) molecules. Attached glycans are known to affect the physicochemical and pharmacological properties of protein-based drugs in the circulation and glycoengineering can be used to tailor drugs to meet specific delivery needs. The work will also have application in immunodiagnostics and monitoring fields. Welcoming the funding announcement, Dr Gerard Wall said “This support will enable us to develop improved, longer-lived biopharmaceuticals using cutting edge protein engineering approaches. The work will complement established research strengths at NUI Galway in biomaterials, drug delivery and glycobiology. The award also establishes an important strategic link between biosciences research at NUI Galway and a major Chinese University and Medical School.” The NSFC funds a combination of basic and applied biological research focusing on research promotion, talent fostering and infrastructure construction for basic research. It provides dedicated support structures for fundamental research, individual awards and infrastructure and has an annual budget in excess of 10 billion RMB (€1.2 billion). Drs Wall and Hu were previously awarded funding from the NSFC in 2010 to establish a research team and carry out pilot work on the current project. The present funding will allow their joint research programme to be significantly expanded and will also see continued, reciprocal research exchanges between the Chinese and Irish laboratories. -Ends-

Monday, 2 September 2013

NUI Galway will have twelve current and former students making up a significant contingent of the Clare Senior hurling panel for this Sunday’s (September 8) All-Ireland Final against Cork. NUI Galway students and alumni representing the Banner County are Pat Kelly, Domhnall O’Donovan, Cian Dillon, John Conlon, Colin Ryan, Conor McGrath, Liam Markham, Aaron Cunningham, Fergal Lynch, Donal Touhy, Colm Galvin and Seadna Morey. In the hurling quarter-finals, Clare proved too strong for a Galway side, which included current NUI Galway students Joseph Cooney and Niall Burke, whilst the semi-final success over Limerick guaranteed Clare their place in the final. Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted that our students continue to excel, both on and off the field of play, and we wish them the best in their quest to bring the McCarthy Cup back to Clare.” -ENDS-

Monday, 2 September 2013

Dr Breslin brings combination of technology expertise and education experience The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has announced that NUI Galway’s Dr John Breslin, a lecturer in Engineering and Informatics at the University and co-founder of boards.ie, has been appointed to their board of directors for a three-year period. ACE is the largest non-profit fitness certification, education and training organisation in the world, with over 50,000 certified professionals. ACE-certified personal trainers and group fitness instructors are now practising in more than 110 countries worldwide. The organisation recently became the first US-based fitness certification provider to earn approval by the European Health & Fitness Association (EHFA) Standards Council, allowing fitness professionals with ACE certifications to join the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS). In 2010, NUI Galway became the first university outside North America to form a University Course Curriculum partnership with the American Council on Exercise. At NUI Galway, Dr Breslin teaches courses to undergraduate electrical, computer, sports and exercise students, and has worked with ACE on sponsored postgraduate research to examine the relationship between mobile social fitness reporting and exercise adherence. “Personal fitness and fitness training are being increasingly impacted upon by emerging technologies in social media and mobile devices,” says Dr Breslin. “The surge in usage of social media and shared experiences has led many to share details of their daily exercise routines through social networks. These updates are mainly communicated through the proliferation of mobile devices we now carry about our persons daily.” “The same mobile devices used by those measuring their fitness levels can also be used as advanced education delivery platforms for training instructors and fitness professionals,” says Dr Breslin. “ACE is a very forward-looking organisation, always mindful of emerging trends in technology and education, and I will be doing my best to help keep them abreast of current developments based on my technology expertise and education experiences.” “I am honoured and delighted to join the all-star board of directors at ACE, each member having expertise and success in differing domains ranging from government and business to fitness and health.” -- ENDS –    

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The ‘GolfCycle’ undertaken by NUI Galway MA in Digital Media student and former Irish International golfer, Joe Lyons and John McGuire of the Technology Transfer Office at the University, launched the defibme.ie campaign this summer.  The duo cycled from Galway Golf Club to the Irish Open in Mullingar, playing 18 holes across 9 golf courses along the way. The event raised awareness of the University-backed initiative to build smartphone applications to locate your nearest defibrillator while also raising funds for the Irish Heart Foundation. Golf club members across the country also had the opportunity to win some great prizes provided by Revive Active and the Carlton Shearwater Hotel, by taking part in their own club’s weekly medal. The draw for the prizes took place recently at a ceremony in NUI Galway. The results are as follows: First Prize: Mullingar Golf Club Mullingar Golf Club won a weekend trip for four to Oceanico's Amendeoira Golf Resort in the Algarve, sponsored by Revive Active. Second Prize: Galway Golf Club Galway Golf Club won a weekend break for four at the Carlton Shearwater Hotel. Third Prize: Dara Kirwin Dara Kirwin was the winners of the spa day for four in the Carlton Shearwater Spa. Joe Lyons said: “Revive Active and the Carlton Shearwater sponsorship have had a very positive effect on the defibme.ie campaign. Smartphone applications are almost complete and will be available in September. We are continuing to build a list of defibrillator locations to assist the public in times of crises. Without the support of sponsors it would be extremely difficult to do this.” ‘GolfCycle’ was the first in a series of initiatives aimed at encouraging organisations to register defibrillators and highlighting the resource to the general public. Upcoming events will continue to encourage the crowdsourcing of information. The defibme.ie campaign is dependant on crowdsourcing information to build a comprehensive registry. For more information on defibme.ie visit www.defibme.ie. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Partnership launched by NUI Galway alumnus and former Lions, Ireland and Connacht captain Ciaran Fitzgerald 2013 NUI Galway and Connacht Rugby have announced a comprehensive partnership to further develop the sporting, academic, research and educational links between the two. The partnership aims to nurture the next generation of sports performers and scholars. The partnership will see NUI Galway support the Connacht Rugby Academy and the Connacht Rugby Age Grade Representative teams. A key aspect of the partnership is the offer of structured third level education to elite players. This structured education will also involve a mentoring and development programme. Speaking at the launch, NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said that the aim is ‘to provide professional players with the opportunity to combine third level study with a professional rugby career which will provide a powerful incentive for talented young players to come to Connacht and NUI Galway.” Connacht Head of Commercial and Marketing, Alex Saul said “We are delighted to welcome NUI Galway on board to support our Academy and Age Grade Programmes. NUI Galway are the perfect partner to have on board to ensure that our development pathway continues to flourish, whilst also opening the door to further commercial, educational and research opportunities. CEO of Connacht Rugby, Tom Sears said ‘Our new partnership with NUI Galway will enable Connacht Rugby to further enhance our holistic approach to elite player development. We have always sought to develop our players in every aspect of their lives, on and off the pitch, to ensure they reach their full potential and this link will provide tremendous opportunities for them. We fully intend to explore all the exciting opportunities of working closely with NUI Galway and see this new partnership as fundamental to our future development in many areas.’ Connacht players and NUI Galway brand ambassadors Robbie Henshaw, Eoin McKeon, Conor Finn and Rory Maloney will be taking an active part in the NUI Galway schools liaison programme, visiting schools and talking to students about the potential to balance elite sport with third level education but also the broader benefits of both an active mind and an active body. Ciaran Fitzgerald, former Connacht, Ireland and Lions captain, launching the partnership, said that the initiative is a wonderful opportunity for young people both inside and outside the province of Connacht to benefit from the combination of two schools of excellence. Today marks the beginning of a broader partnership that will extend beyond school visits, structured education for elite players and underage team support to world class research in areas like psychology, nutrition and performance excellence. The aim is to address challenges facing elite athletes in the professional game and enable leading researchers to address those challenges in rugby played at the highest level. -ends-  

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

As part of Culture Night 2013, which takes place on Friday, 20 September, 6pm, the Archives and Special Collections Service at NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library will stage a special evening talk on the connection between The Gathering of 2013 and the original celebration of Irish culture and identity and engagement with Irish diaspora worldwide – the Tóstal events of the 1950s. An Tóstal, first staged in 1953, was a showcase for Irishness, Irish culture and identity. Its events were steeped in spiritual, mythological and national symbolism. It was initiated as a means of attracting visitors and the Irish diaspora to Ireland during the Easter period, as well as giving a platform to Irish culture in a new fledgling Republic. Author, Felicity Hayes-McCoy is the special guest speaker for this Culture Night event, and has been writing specifically on The Gathering and on Irish culture at home and abroad. Felicity is the daughter of Professor Gerard Anthony Hayes-McCoy, former Chair of History at NUI Galway and an advisor and script-writer for the Tóstals of the 1950's. As part of this Culture Night event, there will be a special showcase of digitised archival material from the Hayes-McCoy archive, which is held at the James Hardiman Library. John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway comments: “We are delighted once again to take the opportunity offered by Culture Night to engage the public with our archives and in particular to host such a distinguished speaker as Felicity Hayes-McCoy. This event will be a unique opportunity to explore the tradition of Irish culture, its imagery, symbolism and connection to the world, as well as the past connection of NUI Galway to this staging of Ireland, through the Hayes-McCoy archive.” Felicity Hayes-McCoy said: “As a writer with a lifelong interest in mythology and folklore, I am drawn to the imagery, symbolism and ritual invoked in these festivals. And because I come from a background of theatre and broadcast, I am fascinated by the differences and similarities between An Tóstal and The Gathering – not just in terms of the messages they chose to send out, but by the collaborative, and sometimes contentious, process of conceiving and conveying them.” The event will take place in the new Arts, Humanities and Social Science Research Building, adjacent to the James Hardiman Library, with doors opening at 5.30pm. The event is free but booking is essential. For further information, contact barry.houlihan@nuigalway.ie, aisling.keane@nuigalway.ie or phone 091 493476. -ENDS-

Friday, 6 September 2013

More internationals students are enrolled in NUI Galway than any other Irish University NUI Galway welcomed the Brazilian Deputy Ambassador, Minister-Counselor, Chief of Chancery,  Elza Moreira Marcelino de Castro, and over 100 Brazilian students to its campus today. This welcoming reception coinsides with Brazil's National Independence Day, which takes place tomorrow (Saturday, 7 September). To date, 140 students from 69 universities throughout Brazil have been accepted by NUI Galway to study a range of modules from Anatomy to Zoology, and from Artificial Intelligence to Tissue Engineering. NUI Galway, with the highest number of international students in an Irish university, has been central to Ireland’s participation in Brazil’s Science without Borders (Ciência sem Fronteiras). Science without Borders directly funds 75,000 scholarships and a further 26,000 are being funded by the private sector. The programme seeks to add to students’ knowledge of science and technology and improve innovation and competitiveness through international mobility of undergraduate and graduate students and researchers. Dr Brian Hughes, Dean of International Affairs at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has proven to be the university of choice in Ireland for Brazilian students. 140 students from Brazil are travelling to university in Galway under the CAPES grant programme, and we would hope that following the forthcoming funding round our Brazilian family will grow and grow!” Figures released by the Higher Education Authority show that NUI Galway has over 2,000 International students enrolled on a broad portfolio of courses, arts, business, public policy and law, science, engineering, medicine and health sciences. The students come from over 104 different countries, all continents, with international students making up 16% of the overall student population, and 27% of the University’s PhD students. The University has over 200 student exchange agreements with universities around the world. For more information visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/international-students/yourcountry/brazil/ -ENDS-

Monday, 9 September 2013

Renewable energy tours to boost awareness and eco-tourism along the west coast NUI Galway Ryan Institute is to merge tourism, technology and geography to allow interested parties to witness first hand Ireland’s renewable energy potential. The eco-tour trails, supported by the EU, will offer an insight into the latest renewable energy research against the backdrop of Ireland’s world famous western coast. The tours will provide renewable energy demonstrations and training in new energy technologies, and will bring economic and educational benefits across the region to investors, local authorities, researchers, policy makers, students and the general public. Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute and project leader says “the renewable energy tours will provide an opportunity for local stakeholders to learn about the technology and best practice within the renewable energy sector, which can increase understanding of the technology and potential for rural communities”.  Dr Annette Harte, senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering added that not only will the renewable energy tours create jobs along the western seaboard but, she said, “will help to build expertise and promote the development of a renewable energy network across rural areas that will be sustainable beyond the project activities”. The Ryan Institute was awarded €127,000 from the EU for the REMOTE project (Renewable Energy Training and Demonstration Network for Remote Communities across the Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) area). Serena Silke has been appointed to manage the project among the five European partners. Brigit’s Garden in Roscahill, Co. Galway and the BMW Assembly are also on board ensuring the integration of the tourism and technology activities into the educational and industrial sectors along the Western region. The project secured a total of €850,000 across the partnership in Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Ireland. The NPP areas of Ireland include Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Clare, Limerick, Cork and Kerry. The project’s aim is to increase and support local capacities in renewable energy solutions across the peripheral and remote communities on the northern margins of Europe and to develop their economic, social and environmental potential. -ENDS-  

Monday, 9 September 2013

The HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway, in association with the Heart and Stroke Charity Croí, are inviting members of the public who have sleep problems to avail of free blood pressure checks on Monday, 16 September from 2-7pm at the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre, Moyola Lane, Newcastle, Galway. This initiative is part of ongoing research into reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke, and is specially targeting people with sleep problems, such as difficulty getting to sleep, waking during the night, or people for who sleep disturbance is impacting on their daily lives. Recent sleep-related research has shown that poor sleep can increase the risk of high blood pressure and obesity, which are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. It is well known that a good night’s sleep is essential for good health. However, with the challenges and pressures of modern life and demanding lifestyles, more and more people are experiencing poor sleep patterns. If these sleep deficits are linked to high blood pressure, it has important implications for the prevention of longer term chronic illnesses such as heart disease. People attending the blood pressure check may be suitable to be included in the research study. Nurses from the Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway and the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre will be on hand to carry out the checks and no appointment is necessary. The event is supported by Bristol Myers Squibb. For further information, please contact Alice Power HRB Clinical Research Facility, NUI Galway, on 091 494282 or 086 0220016. -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

NUI Galway has again increased its position in the QS World University Rankings 2013/2014. Rising 3 places to 284th in this year’s ranking, NUI Galway is one of only two Irish universities to improve their standing in this year’s league table.   Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said of the achievement: “This is good news for NUI Galway and further acknowledgement of the developments in teaching and research that have taken place at this University in recent years.   Although all ranking systems have their limitations in that they seek to measure performance across a narrow range of criteria, the QS World University Rankings is one of the best regarded evaluations of higher education in the world, and it is great to see NUI Galway continue to make its mark on that ranking.”   President Browne added: “It is clear that Irish universities are competing in a global market now. In spite of the economic difficulties the country faces, we need to continue to invest in teaching and research if we are to continue to attract the best staff and students and to maintain and enhance Ireland’s position within higher education globally”.   NUI Galway is now ranks in the top 300 universities in the disciplines of Engineering and Technology (251), Arts and Humanities (276) and Social Sciences and Management (288). It is in the top 350 universities globally for Life Sciences and Medicine (307) and Natural Sciences (348) in the QS World University Rankings’ discipline categories.   QS Head of Research Ben Sowter said that the economic climate of recent years has been very challenging for Irish universities, with recurrent grant allocations falling 25% between 2008 and 2012. Trinity College Dublin was the only other Irish university to improve its position in this year’s ranking. The QS World University Rankings have been running since 2004 and are amongst the highest profile global evaluations of comparative university quality. The World University Rankings were conceived to present a multi-faceted view of the relative strengths of the world’s leading universities. The calculations leading to the QS World University Rankings are based on data gathered in the following categories: Academic Peer Review, Employer Review, International Faculty Ratio, International Student Ratio, Student Faculty Ratio, and Citations per Faculty (citation data supplied by Scopus).   ENDS  

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

ReelLife Science, a novel Science video competition, was recently launched in 316 primary and secondary schools by a team of NUI Galway staff and students. The competition aims to involve school children in Science in a fun way, developing their analytical, creative and communication skills, while enabling NUI Galway researchers and students to engage in Outreach in an innovative manner. The initiative was conceived by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell, a winner of the inaugural ‘I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here, Ireland” competition in November 2012, securing funding for a science communication project. Additional funding to expand the project was awarded by the NUI Galway Students’ Union EXPLORE Innovation Initiative and the College of Science. Now supported by a team of NUI Galway Science communicators, ReelLife Science will award a total of €1000 in prizes, while winners will also be invited to attend the Galway Science and Technology Festival on Sunday, 24 November in NUI Galway, where their videos will be on display to the general public. Short (1-3 min) videos may be submitted by the invited schools consisting of all primary and secondary schools in Galway, and the 28 schools which participated in ‘I’m a Scientist, get me out of here, Ireland’ 2012. Videos will be judged by a panel of internationally recognised scientists, including Professor Rhodri Ceredig, REMEDI, NUI Galway and Professor Andrea Brand of Gurdon Institute, Cambridge. Emma Dalton, Science teacher and Transition Year Coordinator in St Enda’s College Galway, said of her students’ upcoming participation: “I am very excited, as this competition offers an opportunity for students to step away from the curriculum and engage in Science in a more fun way. It is also an opportunity for them to guide their own learning and then, even better, to practice sharing what they have learnt with others. I am really looking forward to seeing the ideas they come up with.” The closing date for submissions is Friday, 25 October. The winning videos will be displayed on the projects website, www.reellifescience.com, Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ReelLifeScience, and Twitter feed, @ReelLifeScience, where regular updates, Science news and blog posts can be found.  For further information visit www.reellifescience.com or email reellifescience@nuigalway.ie -ENDS-

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A new app developed at NUI Galway allows users to book appointments 24 hours a day. The free app will be officially launched on Wednesday, 11 September, by Helplink, a new Irish social enterprise. The app means dentist, doctor, beauty salon, physio, hairdressing, and chiropractor appointments can be booked 24 hours a day, seven days a week and in real time. There is also an option to avail of cancelled appointments by viewing appointments in real time and health/wellbeing providers can fill appointments that they may have lost before. Lochlann Scott, Managing Director of Helplink and Psychology graduate from NUI Galway, said: “We all have been in those situations where, for example, it always seems to be out of hours when you need to book an appointment, or you are constantly trying to get through at nine in the morning to an engaged tone or answering machine or wasting time and money ringing around to find a free appointment. Also this service will help free up A&Es because people can find those real time appointments for minor injuries, etc.” Not only does the Helplink’s Directory and Appointment Booking service allow local and out-of-town clients find appointments fast and easily, it also has over 2,500 listings of public and private health and wellbeing services from across the nation. Some of the categories include: hospitals, opticians, home care services, chemists, late night services, yoga centres and many more. The easy to use booking app for iPhones and Androids has been created by Sean Coleman of NUI Galway’s Discipline of Information Technology, under the direction of Dr Owen Molloy. “Financial support was provided by the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher scheme, which provides a very simple and cost-effective way for local industry to engage with our R&D capability”, says Dr Molloy. Helplink’s simple, easy to use website has been created with the support of Eircom. Lochlann, a research psychologist, lecturer and social care worker with the HSE, said: “The reason behind creating Helplink was to use technology to reduce the cost of providing health and support services and also to make these services and health information accessible to everyone in Ireland no matter where they are. Our directory is our first completely free service to the public and this new appointment booking system was a logical next move to my mind.” The Helplink directory is free to use, free to download and use, and details of your chosen listing will be sent to the user’s phone by text for free. The app can be downloaded from the App Store, iTunes and the Google Play Store by searching ‘helplink’. For more information please visit www.helplink.ie or contact directory@helplink.ie. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

NUI Galway’s Astronomy Society will welcome world-renowned astrophysicist Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell for a special public talk entitled ‘A light-weight Introduction to Gravitational Radiation’ on Tuesday, 24 September.  Professor Bell Burnell is renowned for her discovery of pulsars, rapidly rotating neutron stars, in 1967 and has won numerous awards for her strong role in promoting science. In 2008 she became the first female President of the Institute of Physics and is a strong supporter, and role model, of women in science. This talk will introduce the topic of gravitational waves and show that researchers are on the threshold of detecting a whole new spectrum of radiation. These waves, sometimes called ripples in space-time, were first predicted by Albert Einstein. Professor Bell Burns will be examining if Einstein was right, what these ripples are, how are they created and how to detect them.  NUI Galway’s Astronomy Society was established last year and already has over 540 members. Promoting astronomy, both recreationally and academically, the society host a series of talks on astronomy and organise events to increase general awareness and understanding of astronomy. The society also works with the Galway Astronomy Club and is supported by the University's Centre for Astronomy. Professor Bell Burnell's talk will take place at 7pm in the Kirwan Theatre in the Arts/Science Building (Concourse). This talk is free and open to the general public. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Minister Sean Sherlock TD will deliver keynote address NUI Galway will host the ‘People, Policy, Places and the Economy’ Conference from 19-20 September. This two-day conference will showcase some of the research activities that have been supported by the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions Cycle 4 (PRTLI 4) and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part the Irish Social Sciences Platform. Minister Sean Sherlock TD, Department of Enterprise, Job and Innovation, and the Department of Education and Skills, will deliver the keynote address on Thursday, 19 September. Entitled What Ireland Needs and How Universities Can Help, the address and a roundtable discussion with Minister Sherlock will begin at 6.30pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway and is open to the public. On Friday, 20 September, NUI Galway will host a day-long conference highlighting examples of NUI Galway’s research and community outreach efforts and contemporary social and business debates that have been enabled through funding from the PRTLI 4 as part of the Irish Social Science Platform. Panel presentations and discussions will focus upon: the Creative Economy and Creative Places; Improving the Lives of People; and Enterprise, Entrepreneurs and the Irish Economy. Kevin Leyden, Professor of Political Science at NUI Galway, said: “At this conference we will introduce a new initiative called ‘Public Policy Puzzles’ that we hope to implement in the coming year. The goal will be to seek new ideas from the public and business on how to improve policy, places, and the economy.”  Information on guest speakers, the conference programme and registration is available at www.conference.ie. -ENDS-  

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

New Bus Service from Waterford to NUI Galway   NUI Galway is introducing a new bus service for students from Waterford to NUI Galway, serving the following the towns: Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel, Cashel, Cahir, Tipperary town and Limerick. This service will be operated by JJ Kavanagh and Sons, Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny. The introduction of this new service is to cater for the increasing numbers of students from these towns who are choosing to study at NUI Galway. There is currently no direct transport link in place from Waterford to Galway which makes commuting regularly difficult for students. This service will commence operating on Friday, 13 September from the Galway Cathedral  and will     Friday Sunday Price Galway-Cathedral 16.15 21.00 €15 Limerick – Arthurs Quay 17.55 22.40 €15 Tipperary – Abbey Street 18.35 23.20 €15 Cahir-Car Park 18.55 23.40 €15 Cashel – Buckleys 19.15 00.00 €14 Clonmel – Army Barracks 19.45 00.30 €14 Carrick-on-Suir – Park 20.05 00.50 €10 Waterford – Dooleys Hotel 20.30 01.15 €10     Friday Sunday Price Waterford – Dooleys Hotel 11.00 16.00 €15 Carrick-on-Suir – Park 11.25 16.25 €15 Clonmel – Army Barracks 11.45 16.45 €15 Cashel – Buckleys 12.15 17.15 €15 Cahir – Car Park 12.35 17.35 €14 Tipperary – Abbey Street 12.55 17.55 €14 Limerick – Arthurs Quay 13.35 18.35 €10 Galway – Cathedral 15.15 20.15 €10   For further information on the service, contact JJ Kavanaghs at 0818 333 222 or visit www.jjkavanagh.ie, or Celine O’Donovan, NUI Galway Schools Liaison Officer, at 087 2391219. -ENDS-  

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

SPIN Campus Bikes offers 45 bikes at eight stations across the 102 hectare campus   NUI Galway today launched Ireland’s first bike hire scheme outside Dublin. It is part of NUI Galway’s Green Campus Initiative to allow for sustainable transport for both students and staff on and off the 102 hectare campus. The SPIN Campus Bikes are part of NUI Galway’s Travel Plan aimed at reducing the environmental impact of intra-campus travel and congestion on campus. It follows the introduction of a ‘Park and Ride’ bus facility for students and staff on the Galway campus. The scheme is the first of its kind to launch in Ireland since the highly successful ‘dublinbikes’ scheme launched in 2006. The new service will see 45 ‘intelligent’ bikes, in NUI Galway ‘Spin Campus Bikes’ colours available to hire from eight self-service stations across the campus, including the library, park and ride station and university sports centre. Students and staff must pay a €10 per year registration fee to access the bikes. They are then issued an access code which they use to hire any bike free for the first half an hour. The cost rises the longer the hire time is to encourage users to return the bikes to any station quickly, ready for the next user. NUI Galway’s Vice President for Student Experience Pat Morgan said “This scheme sits within NUI Galway’s wider vision of a sustainable, green campus as outlined in its Travel Plan 2011-2014. It is however, an eminently practical way for both students and staff to make their way around a campus that has grown considerably under the University’s capital investment plan in recent years. It further allows those who choose to ‘Park and Ride’ the option of either bus or bike when travelling from place to place on campus.” The facility, offered by GrandScheme Ltd. has been specially designed to offer utmost flexibility and minimise the on-street infrastructure required. The Newcastle-upon-Tyne based company behind the system has recently launched schemes at the University of Sunderland and Oxford, in the UK. Each bright purple custom branded bike comes with an integrated keypad unit that dispenses the lock key once the user has entered their access code. The bikes can be locked up anywhere during a hire using the lock provided. On-board GPS tracking is used to tell members how far they have ridden and ensure that bikes are returned to the dedicated racks at the end of the hire. Unlike systems found across Europe and the US, the Spin scheme does not require large heavy infrastructure docking stations and uses standard bike racks. Maintenance of the system is being provided by West Ireland Cycling, an established local business. Rob Grisdale, CEO of Grand Scheme Bike Share Limited said “Putting the technology on the bike rather than on the street in heavy docking stations makes a lot of sense. You get more data about how the scheme is being used and the whole system is more flexible. This approach is also very cost effective, meaning that we can set schemes up on any scale, from large city wide programs to smaller schemes like Spin.” More information about the scheme including details on registering with Spin can be found at www.grandscheme.co.uk/galway. -ends-

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Community initiative asks; how should Galway develop in the next 25 years?   How would you like to see Galway? What type of transport system should we have? Where and how should the city develop? Galway 2040 is a community initiative to address these questions and create a vision for the future of Galway city and its environs. The initiative began in 2010 and is divided into a number of key pillars including (i) Education, (ii) Innovation and Industry and (iii) Infrastructure and Environment.  Galway 2040 is about stimulating ideas, self-determination, about setting out objectives and developing strategies to meet them. Planning for medium to long term, including inter-generational planning, is not something that always comes easy but it is critical for the growth of the region that there is a clear vision for the future – 2040.  Earlier this year, a highly successful seminar was held by the Galway 2040 Education pillar. A follow-up seminar that focuses on Infrastructure and Environment will take place on Friday, 27 September. The seminar will be held in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway beginning at 9am and finishing at lunchtime. The challenge of creating and managing a sustainable infrastructure to meet the needs of Galway in 2040 is of great significance. The seminar will discuss many aspects associated with the growth of a city in the 21st century so that it will best meet the needs of the people who live, work and visit the city.  Among these issues that are critical are (i) the identification of the necessary infrastructure and transportation systems that will facilitate the growth of the city, (ii) the development of a modern infrastructure for the city that is in harmony with the rich environment (iii) the impact of the built environment on the natural environment and (iv) the interaction between the people and the infrastructure/environment. The seminar will feature a number of speakers from diverse backgrounds who have considerable expertise in the wide range of aspects that impinge on infrastructure and the environment. The speakers are drawn from the public, academic and private sectors and include Professor Greg Lloyd, University of Ulster, Brendan McGrath, Galway City Manager, Professors Kevin Leyden and Colin Brown, NUI Galway, and Gavin Duffy of Realsim.  There will be a very strong emphasis on constructive discussion where audience participation will be encouraged. This will be facilitated by a panel session with participants drawn from various sectors and interest groups in Galway. The objective of the seminar is to identify the critical infrastructure/environment issues which will help chart a path for the next steps in Galway 2040. Further information regarding the seminar, including the full programme, and on the Galway 2040 initiative may be found on http://galway2040.ie/ or by contacting at info@galway2040.ie. Attendance at the seminar is free of charge and attendees may register in advance through the website. -ends-