Wednesday, 18 November 2020

NUI Galway is proud to announce that five academics have been named on the annual Highly Cited Researchers 2020 list from Clarivate. Professor Henry Curran, Professor Donal O’Regan, Professor Patrick W. Serruys, Professor Ines Thiele and Professor William Wijns have joined the prestigious list of 6,167 researchers from more than 60 countries and regions who have been recognised this year. The list also includes 26 Nobel laureates, including three announced this year.  The annual list identifies researchers who demonstrated significant influence in their chosen field or fields through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Their names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index. Professor Henry Curran, listed in the Engineering category, is Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre at NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry and of the Energy Research Centre in the Ryan Institute. His research interest looks at the study of the chemistry of how fuels burn in combustors in order to increase efficiency and reduce emissions for a cleaner world. This is his seventh consecutive year being named a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher. Professor Donal O'Regan, listed in the Mathematics category, is a Personal Professor of Mathematics at NUI Galway’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics and an internationally recognised expert in the field of Nonlinear Analysis, Differential Equations, and Fixed Point Theory. He has written over 1,000 peer-reviewed mathematical articles, making him one of the most prolific authors in the history of mathematics in the world. This is his seventh successive year being named a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher. Professor Patrick W. Serruys, listed in the Clinical Medicine category, is Established Professor of Interventional Medicine and Innovation, Director of the CORRIB Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Laboratory at NUI Galway, and is a world-renowned expert in interventional cardiology and imaging with more than four decades experience in clinical trials and innovation in medicine. He has pioneered several interventional procedures and devices as well as imaging techniques. Professor Ines Thiele, listed in the Cross-Field category, is a Professor in Systems Biomedicine in the School of Medicine and Discipline of Microbiology at NUI Galway. Her research aims at understanding how diet influences human health. To disentangle this complex relationship, her group develop and use comprehensive, computational models of human and gut microbial metabolism. To develop and improve these models, they focus on gastrointestinal and neurodegenerative diseases. Personalised nutrition and personalised drug treatments require comprehensive computer models that will change how diseases are treated and are an integral part of precision medicine. Professor William Wijns, listed in the Clinical Medicine category, is the Science Foundation Ireland Professor in Interventional Cardiology at NUI Galway and a world-renowned expert in cardiology. His research targets the development and validation of innovative techniques in interventional medicine including invasive physiological measurements and imaging, drug-eluting stents and applications of multi-detector coronary CT angiography. His most recent work explores the utility of sensors and biomarkers in order to prevent acute cardiovascular events in high-risk subjects. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “I would like to congratulate our five Highly Cited Researchers on joining this prestigious global list that includes Nobel laureates. Excellence for the public good in our research and teaching is a strategic focus for NUI Galway. To achieve this, we support ambition and enable the excellence of our people, who are leaders, innovators and critical thinkers contributing actively and openly through the research to cultural, societal and economic change and responding to emerging fields of research. Our academics on this year’s Clarivate list are pioneering leaders and innovators in their respected fields and I wish them sustained success in their endeavours to address global societal needs.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “I wish to extend my warmest congratulations to Henry, Donal, Patrick, Ines and William on being included in the Clarivate top 1% of Highly Cited Researchers in the world. This outstanding achievement is testament to their ongoing contribution to innovative research amongst their global peers and their shared passion for improving the world. Being included on the 2020 list is a strong endorsement of NUI Galway’s research contribution globally.” The methodology that determines the “who’s who” of influential researchers draws on the data and analysis performed by bibliometric experts and data scientists at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate. It also uses the tallies to identify the countries and research institutions where these scientific elite are based. David Pendlebury, Senior Citation Analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate said: “In the race for knowledge, it is human capital that is fundamental and this list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at NUI Galway who are having a great impact on the research community as measured by the rate at which their work is being cited by others.” The full 2020 Highly Cited Researchers list and executive summary can be found online here or follow #HighlyCited2020. -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Áine Brazil, former Vice Chairman at the New York engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, will join industry leaders,lecturers and current students from NUI Galway’s College of Science and Engineering for a CAO Virtual Information Evening on Thursday, 19 November, from 7-9pm. The event will feature live presentations on the University’s Science, Engineering, and Computer Science degrees. Visitors to the Information Evening can watch a live panel discussion offering practical advice on researching course options; attending Open Days; navigating the CAO applications system; life as a university student; placements, study-abroad, fieldwork opportunities; and employability and career options. Current Science and Engineering students of Physics, Microbiology and Biomedical Engineering will offer their perspectives and experiences of studying across the physical and biological sciences, and engineering. Áine Brazil, an Engineers Ireland ‘International Engineer of the Year’ recipient, NUI Galway graduate, and structural engineer, who was conferred with an honorary doctorate from NUI Galway in 2015, will speak about her career as a successful and influential engineer. Áine also sponsors the Máire Brazil Scholarship, named after her mother and awarded annually to the highest-ranked female student of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. The award offers €2,000 to the winning student in each of the subsequent three years of the BE Civil Engineering degree. Commenting on the future in store for science and engineering graduates, Áine Brazil said: “In my over 40-year career I was fortunate to impact design approaches for the efficiency and safety of high rise buildings in New York city. The next 40 years promises greater change and exciting opportunities." Additional speakers include: Brendan Tuohy, Chief Physicist with Galway University Hospitals, will discuss his time as a Physics student at NUI Galway, and his career with the HSE as a medical physicist. Marian Finnerty, Senior Environmental Health and Safety Specialist at medical device manufacturer Merit Medical, will discuss her career and advise visitors on NUI Galway’s BSc in Environmental Health and Safety, which is accredited by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. Dr Gavin Collins, Vice-Dean for Student Recruitment in Science and Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for 5th and 6th year students to hear first-hand from lecturers and students, as well as graduates who have pursued successful careers across the sciences and engineering. We will also showcase our new degrees in Genetics and Genomics, Agricultural Science, our integrated five-year Bachelors and Masters of Engineering degrees, and we’ll provide news on our sports scholarships.” To register for the Virtual Information Evening visit: https://bit.ly/2H9DhBj or for further information contact Eilís Ní Loingsigh at eilis.niloingsigh@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

A new collaboration between researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre based at NUI Galway and Industry partner Aerogen, a world leader in high-performance aerosol drug delivery, has recently gotten underway. The project, costing over €400,000, is focused on optimising the Aerogen Solo nebulizer for the delivery of Heparin into the lung of patients with COVID-19 induced Acute Respiratory Failure (ARDS). Heparin is a compound that occurs in the body, which prevents blood clotting. The project will run until September 2021 and clinical patient trials are due to commence in December 2020. Led by Professor John Laffey at CÚRAM, NUI Galway and Dr Ronan MacLoughlin at Aerogen, the project will determine the safety, efficacy and mechanisms of action of nebulized heparin in COVID-19 induced Acute Respiratory Failure. The Aerogen Solo converts the liquid drug into a nebulised mist of consistently sized droplets that enable medication to get deep into the patients’ lung. Recommended by multiple international COVID-19 guidance documents, Aerogen is the only globally available closed circuit aerosol drug delivery system that mitigates the transmission of patient generated infectious aerosol and delivers effective aerosol treatment. Professor John Laffey, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at NUI Galway, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine, Galway University Hospitals and CÚRAM Investigator, said: “Disordered clotting in the lungs is a feature of COVID-19 induced ARDS. Heparin has specific potential benefits in COVID infection. It inactivates the SARSCoV-2 virus and prevents its entry into mammalian cells and appears likely to have a beneficial effect in these patients too, provided it can be safely and effectively delivered to the lungs.” Standard treatment to reduce the risk of the formation of blood clots in the lungs can have substantial associated risks and side effects, such as major haemorrhage and intracerebral haemorrhage. Nebulising heparin directly into the lung may improve the clotting disorder seen in COVID-19 induced severe respiratory failure, while potentially reducing the risk of serious side effects seen when heparin is given by traditional routes. Effective heparin delivery is critically dependent on the efficiency of the nebulizer, and the deposition patterns produced by that device suggests it can deliver effective quantities of heparin directly to the areas of the lung where the disordered clotting is seen. A recent study completed with 256 mechanically ventilated patients with or at risk of developing ARDS showed that nebulized heparin delivered by the Aerogen Solo device,reduced the development of ARDS and increased the number of surviving patients discharged home at day 60. Dr Ronan MacLoughlin, Senior Science Manager at Aerogen, said: “Not all nebuliser technologies are created equal, and here we are looking forward to bringing the inherent safety and performance advantages of Aerogen’s devices to bear in this important program. With the current focus on new and repurposed therapies for ARDS and COVID ARDS, it has never been more important to ensure that these therapies are screened effectively whilst ensuring that they are challenged robustly.” Dr McLoughlin added: “In this project, we are looking at repurposing an existing drug with proven potential, but ensuring that enough is delivered to the patient, all whilst keeping the clinical team safe. Aerogen’s closed circuit nebulisers do not require circuit breaks during mechanical ventilation, and have been shown to deliver the highest levels of therapies to the ventilated patient’s lung and our aim is to ensure that this combination of drug and device provide maximum benefit, under the most critical conditions. “Building on long standing collaborations with both the team in CURAM, and Professor Laffey, we look forward to advancing the state of the art in what have become some of the highest burden respiratory diseases, and provide a roadmap for future programs looking to optimise and exploit the advantages of aerosol-mediated drug delivery to the lung, with a focus on the critical care setting.” This is the third collaboration between CÚRAM and Aerogen. Earlier collaborations focusing on understanding the fluid mechanics of droplets and exploring enhancing the delivery of existing small molecule therapeutics worth over €1 million have resulted in  a significant number of co-publications with Aerogen that have being highly cited. CÚRAM researchers on these collaborations have gained relevant industry training, improved scientific and technical skills and have gone on to secure roles in industry. For more information about the research project contact Claire Riordan, Public Engagement Manager, CÚRAM at claire.riordan@nuigalway.ie or Ciara Power, Global Customer Marketing Manager, Aerogen at cpower@aerogen.com. -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

NUI Galway will hold its annual Autumn Postgraduate Open Day on Tuesday, 24 November, from 12-7pm. In line with current public health guidelines, the University will deliver the event virtually allowing the public to explore the over 400 taught and research postgraduate programmes enrolling in 2021.  The open day is an important event for professionals, graduates and current undergraduate students who are aiming to upgrade their qualification, broaden their skills-set, increase their specialist knowledge and ultimately improve their job prospects and earning power. The virtual event will provide visitors with the opportunity to explore courses and careers by attending live talks with the option to ask questions and to hear directly from programme directors on the career opportunities and emerging trends in their fields. In addition to subject and programme specific talks, the virtual event will include presentations on all the practicalities of preparing for postgraduate study. Key talks include: Fees, Funding and Scholarships; Graduate Studies: Funding my PhD; and Enhancing my Employability with a Postgrad Qualification. Staff from the Admissions Office will be available to take queries relating to the application process and SUSI, the national awarding authority for all higher and further education grants, will be presenting at the event, outlining the postgraduate grants process and available to answer individual queries. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer, explains how an open day is of benefit to future students: “A key part of the decision to pursue a Masters is finding out as much as possible about the potential programmes that could be right for you, the application process and the funding options available. The upcoming virtual open day is a one day event where you can gather all of this information in one place and get ready to make a successful application to your course of choice.” NUI Galway is also launching a number of new postgraduate programmes for entry in 2021 which will be included in the open day showcase. The College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies is launching a number of new postgraduate options including: MSc Adolescent Health, MA/PDip Child, Youth and Community; MA/PDip in Public Policy; and options in Consumer Psychology and in Education Studies. The College of Science & Engineering is offering a new MSc Genomics Data Science which combines highly-sought after skills in genetics, statistics, and data analytics and will provide advanced training in the computational techniques used to analyse and understand genomic data, allowing graduates to work in the emerging field of genomic and precision medicine. Visitors to the virtual event can also get more information on the new online Cardiac Rehabilitation PgCert starting in January 2021, and an Advanced Practice Midwifery course, approved by the NMBI, that aims to enable experienced registered midwives to develop advanced clinical midwifery knowledge and skills to enhance optimum care and improve clinical outcomes for women and their babies. For more information, view the Open Day programme or book a place visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Beidh Lá Oscailte bliantúil an Fhómhair d’Iarchéimithe á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh ar an Máirt, an 24 Samhain, ó 12-7pm. Ag teacht leis na treoirlínte sláinte poiblí reatha, reáchtálfaidh an Ollscoil an imeacht go fíorúil, rud a fhágfaidh go mbeidh deis ag an bpobal eolas a fháil ar os cionn 400 clár iarchéime múinte agus taighde don bhliain 2021.  Is ócáid thábhachtach an lá oscailte do dhaoine gairmiúla, do chéimithe agus d’fhochéimithe reatha a bhfuil rún acu a gcuid cáilíochtaí a thabhairt suas chun dáta, cur lena gcuid scileanna agus saineolais agus, dá réir sin, cur leis na deiseanna fostaíochta atá acu. Tabharfaidh an imeacht fíorúil seo deis do chuairteoirí iniúchadh a dhéanamh ar chúrsaí agus ar ghairmeacha trí fhreastal ar chainteanna beo agus ceisteanna a chur, agus trí chloisteáil go díreach ó na stiúrthóirí cláir faoi na deiseanna fostaíochta atá ann agus faoina bhfuil in ann dá réimsí sa todhchaí. Anuas ar na cainteanna sonracha faoi ábhair agus cláir, áireofar leis an imeacht fíorúil láithreoireachtaí maidir leis na nithe praiticiúla a bhíonn i gceist nuair atáthar ag ullmhú do staidéar iarchéime. I measc na bpríomhchainteanna, áirítear na cinn seo a leanas: Táillí, Maoiniú agus Scoláireachtaí; Staidéar Iarchéime: Mo PhD a mhaoiniú; agus Cur le m’Infhostaitheacht le Cáilíocht Iarchéime. Beidh comhaltaí foirne ón Oifig Iontrála ar fáil chun ceisteanna faoi bpróiseas iarratais a fhreagairt agus déanfaidh SUSI, an t-údarás atá freagrach as gach deontas ardoideachais agus breisoideachais, láithreoireacht bheo.  Seo mar a labhair Valerie Leahy, Oifigeach Earcaíochta Iarchéime, faoin gcaoi a mbainfidh mic léinn ionchasacha tairbhe as an lá oscailte: “Le cinneadh a dhéanamh tabhairt faoi Mháistreacht, tá sé fíorthábhachtach oiread eolais agus is féidir a fháil faoi na cláir a d’fhéadfadh a bheith ceart duit, faoin bpróiseas iarratais agus faoi na roghanna maoinithe atá ar fáil. Imeacht aon lae atá sa lá oscailte fíorúil seo, áit ar féidir leat an t-eolas seo ar fad a fháil in aon áit amháin agus tú féin a ullmhú chun iarratas rathúil a dhéanamh don chúrsa atá uait.” Tá líon clár iarchéime nua a bheidh ag tosú in 2021 á sheoladh chomh maith ag OÉ Gaillimh agus beidh eolas ar fáil ina leith ag an lá oscailte. Beidh roinnt roghanna iarchéime nua á tairiscint ag Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta & an Léinn Cheiltigh, agus ina measc beidh:  MSc i Sláinte Ógánach, MA/Diop. Iarchéime Leanbh, Óige agus an Pobal; MA/Diop. Iarchéime i mBeartas Poiblí; agus roghanna i Síceolaíocht Tomhaltóirí agus i Léann an Oideachais. Tá MSc nua, Eolaíocht Sonraí Géanómaíochta, á thairiscint ag Coláiste na hEolaíochta & na hInnealtóireachta, ar cúrsa léinn é a thairgeann scileanna a bhfuil an-tóir orthu sa ghéineolaíocht, staitistic agus anailísíocht sonraí. Soláthrófar ardoiliúint ar an gcúrsa sna teicnící ríomhaireachta sin a úsáidtear chun anailís a dhéanamh ar shonraí géanómacha, ar oiliúint í sin a ligfidh do chéimithe oibriú i réimse úrnua an leighis ghéanómaigh agus an leighis beachtais. Beidh cuairteoirí ar an imeacht fíorúil in ann tuilleadh eolais a fháil chomh maith faoin Teastas Iarchéime in Athshlánúchán Cairdiach a bheidh ag tosú i mí Eanáir 2021, agus faoi chúrsa Ardchleachtais Cnáimhseachais, arna fhaomhadh ag an NMBI, a bhfuil sé mar aidhm aige a chur ar chumas cnáimhseacha cláraithe a bhfuil taithí acu ardeolas agus scileanna cnáimhseachais a fhorbairt chun cúram den scoth a chumasú agus torthaí cliniciúla a fheabhsú do mhná agus dá naíonáin.  Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil, an clár don Lá Oscailte a fheiceáil nó áit a chur in áirithe, téigh go dtí: http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day/. -Críoch-

Monday, 16 November 2020

Chief Information Officer and Digital Health Director of the World Health Organisation, Mr Bernardo Mariano Jr, will deliver the keynote address at the annual NUI Galway MedTech Forum. Focusing on the theme of ‘Campus Innovations for COVID-19 Global Solutions’, the Forum will take place virtually on Monday, 23 November, from 9am-1pm.   This year the NUI Galway MedTech Forum will focus on COVID-19 innovations and larger University led initiatives that occurred on campus. Topics and speakers during the Forum include:  Digital Contact Tracing - Dr Jane Walsh, School of Psychology COVID-19 Data Science - Dr Andrew Simpkin, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics Patient Ventilation - Dr Bairbre McNicholas, School of Medicine 3D Printing MedTech - Dr Ted Vaughan, Biomedical Engineering and CÚRAM Keep Breathing - Emily Wallace and Aaron Hannon, students with the School of Medicine The INSPIRE Project - Tim Jones, CÚRAM Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Professor of Medical Device Technology NUI Galway, Consultant Physician at University Hospital Galway, and event organiser, said: “We are delighted to welcome Bernardo Mariano Jr to speak at our MedTech Forum this year as he is a global key opinion leader in digital health transformation. The annual MedTech Forum highlights the amazing innovators that we have on campus and the fantastic cross discipline research collaborations that result in novel solutions for patient care. This year the focus is specifically on the great work that we have done on COVID-19 MedTech innovations that have impacted locally, nationally and internationally.” Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway and Consultant Physician in Endocrinology and Metabolism, Saolta University Healthcare Group, said: “The annual NUI Galway MedTech Forum highlights the rich medical/ science/ engineering ecosystem that we have in Galway and the depth of talent that is present both on campus, in our hospitals and in our industry partners. This year’s excellent programme highlights the result of harnessing this network of excellence to create novel solutions when COVID-19 brought so many problems. One of the key clinical transformations that occurred during the pandemic was the adoption of digital technologies to deliver care and our keynote speaker Bernardo Mariano Jr, will discuss this phenomenon and subsequent health opportunities from a unique global perspective.” Bernardo Mariano Jr commented: “I am looking forward to speaking at the Fourm where I will discuss how at the World Health Organisation we promote collaboration to accelerate the digital transformation of the healthcare sector by building a trusted and ethical Digital Health ecosystem.” The NUI Galway MedTech Forum is a free event and open to the public. For more information and to register visit: https://bit.ly/3lB8lbS or www.nuigalway.ie/physicianeerdegree -Ends-

Monday, 16 November 2020

Jon Williams will discuss why truth matters at the annual event honouring the late John Cunningham RTÉ News and Current Affairs Managing Director Jon Williams will give the 2020 'John Cunningham Journalism Lecture’ hosted by NUI Galway. The virtual conference will take place on Monday, 23 November, at 5pm with Mr Williams discussing 'Why the Truth Matters' and issues such as the importance of public service journalism and the dangers of misinformation. This is the second year that NUI Galway has hosted the lecture which honours the late Connacht Tribune Editor and long-time journalism lecturer John Cunningham. The inaugural lecture was given by the British academic and media commentator Professor Roy Greenslade in 2019. Tom Felle, Head of Journalism and Communication at NUI Galway, said: “John Cunningham was one of Ireland’s best local newspaper editors and he made an indelible impression on the lives of the hundreds of journalists he trained as a lecturer in journalism. We are delighted to be able to honour his memory with this public lecture that has become an important annual event.” Jon Williams is Managing Director of News and Current Affairs at RTÉ since January 2017. Previously he was Managing Editor, International News, at ABC News in New York, where he shaped the organisation’s international news coverage and strategy. He led that station’s reporting of the war in Ukraine, the European refugee crisis, and the coverage of the ISIS terrorist attacks in Europe, as well as driving innovation, including the use of 360 and virtual reality video. Previously he held positions as Deputy Editor of the Six O’Clock News; World News Editor; and UK News Editor with BBC News. Jon holds numerous accolades including the 2013 International Prize from the Royal Television Society. The event is free and open to the public. To register email journalism@nuigalway.ie or join the webinar on Monday, 23 November at https://bit.ly/cunninghamlecture . -Ends-

Monday, 16 November 2020

Hand-held, battery-operated device will carry out rapid detection of the virus using a laser in approximately 15 minutes Device will also test for antibodies to the virus in human samples Device could carry out rapid on-site tests in airports, workplaces and schools Test can be administered by anyone, without medical or scientific training Researchers from NUI Galway and the University of Wyoming have received a grant of €199,720 from the Health Research Board to develop a handheld device for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The device, which they aim to have available early next year, will also test for antibodies to the virus in human samples. The test device is already being sold and the research team are currently developing a COVID test to work with it in order to produce and distribute large quantities within a short period of time. The rapid test will be capable of being administered by anyone, such as airport officials or school principals. Professor Gerard Wall, of Microbiology, College of Science and Engineering and SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway, is leading the research along with Professors Patrick Johnson and Karen Wawrousek from the University of Wyoming’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Professor Wall will employ a laboratory-based technique that mimics the human immune response “in vitro”, or in a test tube, to produce antibody fragments for use in the detection of the virus. The antibody fragments will enable high sensitivity and reproducibility of the device, and can be produced in large quantities in bacterial cells. Professors Johnson and Wawrousek will attach the antibody fragments to nanoparticles for incorporation into a hand-held, battery-operated device that will carry out rapid detection of the virus using a laser, in approximately 15 minutes. Professor Gerard Wall, NUI Galway, said: “Rapid detection of the virus on-site will allow potentially infectious people to be identified so that decisions on isolation and treatment can be made immediately. There are clear applications for this type of device in airports, workplaces or schools, among other locations.” Professor Patrick Johnson, University of Wyoming, said: “Our test will have higher sensitivity than other rapid tests and will not require any sample preparation. The idea is to have an accurate, portable, on-site test with results within 15-20 minutes. This will allow rapid answers while the person is still present, enabling immediate intervention and treatment.” Samples can be collected from saliva, nasal swab or blood. The samples will then be placed in glass vials and inserted into hand-held instruments, called Raman spectrometers, for analysis. The project team plans to use Raman spectrometers developed by entrepreneur Keith Carron, CEO of Metrohm Raman in Laramie, Wyoming and will work with Noah Hull, Microbiology Laboratories manager at the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory to validate the assay against known positive and negative samples. -Ends-

Friday, 13 November 2020

Energy poverty, where the poorest households in developing countries lack access to modern energy sources and services is prevalent worldwide, with almost 800 million people lacking access to electricity. Around three billion people globally are cooking everyday using polluting open fires or simple stoves fuelled by kerosene, biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal. A recent collaborative study in Kenya led by Dr Caroline Ochieng and Professor Charles Spillane from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the World Bank ESMAP program, confirms that cookstove and fuel stacking is the norm; with just 17% of 71 respondents reporting exclusive use of one stove type or fuel. Dr Caroline Ochieng from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, said: “We find that the main driver of stacking is the need to save time by preparing multiple dishes simultaneously, as opposed to cultural attachment to traditional cookstoves or food taste preferences that are generally seen as the major behavioral obstacles to cookstove adoption. Just like I have several cooking and heating devices in my own household that allow me to finalise these chores within a very short time, it is the same requirement these households have. Having the new stoves allows them to now have two as opposed to just one cooking and heating device that performs everything.” Funded by the Irish Research Council and EU MSCA program, the study, published in the journal Energy for Sustainable Development observed that an overwhelming number of cookstove programs promote single burner designs, which implies a lack of understanding and appreciation of end-user needs. Based on this finding, the researchers are recommending standardization of a number of burners of cookstoves to more than one, as well as a marketing strategy that capitalizes on such benefits (demonstrating parallel dishes being prepared on a stove) to increase uptake of clean cookstoves. Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, highlights: “Each year, close to four million people die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution from inefficient cooking practices using polluting stoves paired with solid fuels and kerosene. If the massive investments in clean cookstove interventions globally are to improve household health outcomes, the reality of stove stacking has to be factored into the design of interventions. This is critical if cleaner cooking interventions are to reduce the burden of disease associated with polluting stoves.” Amongst the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDG7 is focused on ensuring access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all by 2030. Stove stacking, the practice of using multiple cookstoves and fuels at the same time, has important implications for programs and policies that are trying to transition poorer households away from traditional fuels and stoves and thereby achieve SDG7 targets regarding access to modern energy services. The predominant reliance on biomass for cooking is a major environment and health risk concentrated in low and middle income countries where clean fuel alternatives such as electricity, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and cleaner burning woodstoves are either unavailable, or are not affordable to the majority of households. What is now widely observed is that while cookstove users adopt the new cookstoves and fuels, they still retain the traditional ones. From a public health perspective, this is problematic. The health risks associated with burning of biomass fuels do not reduce at the same rate as reduction of emissions. As a result, where polluting cookstoves continue to be used even for secondary functions, the health risks within unventilated households still remain. It is therefore of policy interest to understand why cookstoves are stacked by households, and how policy measures can be redesigned to better respond to this practice. Dr Yabei Zhang who is a co-author of the study and leads the World Bank’s Clean Cooking Fund, said: “For any user-centered clean cooking interventions, stacking has to be incorporated in the design. This study’s findings support ESMAP’s move toward national surveys that take into account multi-dimensionality of energy access, such as the Multi-Tier Framework surveys that collect information on cookstove and fuel stacking. This is also why we have used ‘two-burner’ as a cooking solution requirement when modeling a transition pathway toward universal access to modern energy cooking services in the recently published report the State of Modern Energy Cooking Services.” The authors call for more research on stacking, that to date is often dealt with in post-hoc analyses while the primary focus remains on stove performance in reduction of household air pollution and health improvements. They highlight in the article the enormous benefits of stacking for households, where stacking needs to be viewed as part of the cookstove transition process. “By stacking different stoves, women were able to save time and cook their meals on time, with important implications for the overall welfare of the family including children's education.” This is based on constant narrative from study participants that children would go to bed hungry and be late for school if meals took too long to cook, a common experience for those who had one cooking device/burner. While this may not be a popular recommendation for programs targeting health benefits, the authors recommend that in the long term, trialing of different cookstoves and fuels within a stacking regime could provide the necessary learning and experience that could more effectively facilitate a switch away from traditional cookstoves. To read the full study in Energy for Sustainable Development, visit:  https://bit.ly/3502QxW For more information about the study contact: caroline.ochieng@nuigalway.ie  and charles.spillane@nuigalway.ie  -Ends-

Thursday, 12 November 2020

As part of Science Week, a research group from NUI Galway will host the event, ‘Plastic Recycling in Ireland - How to improve plastic recycling together’. This event will focus on the fate of plastic after it has been used and how we can improve plastic recycling as users. It takes place today (Thursday, 12 November) at 5pm and is free and open to the public. The Innovative Energy Technologies for Biofuels, Bioenergy and Sustainable Irish Bioeconomy (IETSBIO3) is an international research group led by Professor Piet Lens at NUI Galway. The group’s focus is on novel technologies for alternative fuels and renewable commodities from waste and wastewater treatment. Ireland is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste in the EU per inhabitant. Often, recyclable plastic ends up in the general waste bin or non-recyclable products are mixed within the recycling bin. Or even worse, plastic ends up on the streets, in rivers and the ocean. The event will feature presentations from professionals from industry, academia and society, followed by an open discussion where contribution is invaluable and all questions and suggestions for improving plastic recycling skills are encouraged. Presentations will be made by: Liam Dunne, General Manager, Panda Group will discuss - Domestic Recycling in Ireland. It will cover what happens to your plastic when it has been collected for recycling; how plastic is collected and then separated, and the most common problems of incorrect disposal and how this affects the recycling process; the measurements that Panda Group is taking to improve recycling practices. Dr Liam Morrison, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway will discuss - To flus or not to flush – wet wipes as a source of microplastic in the ocean. This presentation will focus on white microplastics fibres in the marine environment from the inappropriate disposal of sanitary products in Ireland. Sediments adjacent to a wastewater treatment plant in Galway City are consistently strewn with white microplastic fibres that are comparable to those from commercially available consumer sanitary products (wet wipes and sanitary towels). Increased public awareness of microplastic pollution is required and human behaviour should shift away from the inapt disposal of sanitary products down the toilet. Michele Hallahan – Advisor to the Office of the Provost, TCD will discuss - The evolution of behaviour regarding recycling of plastics. It will focus on sustainability, based on the experience of the speaker, how the behaviour of the people have evolved in the last few years in Ireland. As well as a short overview about some of the programmes carried out to promote and improve plastic recycling skills. And in Michele’s opinion how we can improve it at home day by day. Professor Lens' group at NUI Galway aims to achieve more environmentally friendly technologies and is working to further develop sustainable practices in Ireland at all levels, such as households, education, industries, and policy. By sharing the specific knowledge of different stakeholders it will help towards achieving a zero-waste and circular economy approach to environmental concerns. The group is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, and is part of MaREI and the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. To join the event on MS Teams, logon to: https://bit.ly/2IqUPcm. -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Boston Scientific are collaborating with CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway, on their innovative Teachers in Residence Programme for 2020-2021. This is the fifth year of the residency, during which teachers work directly with world-leading researchers over six months to learn about medical device research at CÚRAM and create practical lesson plans and activities for both primary and secondary school classrooms, based on cutting edge Irish research. Teachers from all disciplines are invited to participate, in support of encouraging multidisciplinary approaches to teaching science. Dr Sarah Gundy, Teachers in Residence Programme Manager, CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to be able to collaborate with Boston Scientific on this programme. Having them on board adds significant value for our teachers and gives them an opportunity to get an even broader perspective on the Medtech Industry and the opportunities that are there for their students.” Boston Scientific is dedicated to transforming lives through innovative medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world and is one of CÚRAM’s long term Industry partners. At present Boston Scientific and CÚRAM’s researchers are working together on research into cardiovascular disease. Fergal Horgan, R&D Manager, Boston Scientific, said: “It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk about the medical device design collaborations that exist with CÚRAM and Boston Scientific. Similarly so, we look forward to discussing in this forum some of the diverse technical and social aspects of working within Boston Scientific and the Medtech industry in general.” This year’s Teachers in Residence programme kicked off in October and will provide and develop resources to help teachers overcome the extra challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme will use a blended learning approach with online sessions held twice a month, from 7pm to 8pm until March 2021. Teachers will receive 10 ECTS through NUI Galway's Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, which is fully funded by CÚRAM. CÚRAM’s public engagement programme ‘Breaking Barriers’ supports the Science Foundation Ireland goal of having the most engaged and scientifically informed public. For more information about the programme, please contact Dr Sarah Gundy at sarah.gundy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

The webinar will mark the launch of landmark new book ‘Sport, Film and National Culture’, edited by NUI Galway academic Dr Seán Crosson NUI Galway’s Moore Institute will host a webinar on Sport, Film and National Culture on Thursday, 19 November, at 4pm. The event will mark the launch of a major new volume on this theme edited by Dr Seán Crosson from the University’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media and leader of the Sport and Exercise Research Group in the Moore Institute. This webinar will examine the critical role film has played in affirming the relationship between sport and national cultures internationally. Sport and film have historically been key components of national cultures and societies. The Irish experience is particularly instructive in this respect, evident in the close and enduring association between Gaelic games and Irish identity, and its popular depiction in cinema. As the centenary of Bloody Sunday approaches, Irish cinema has provided one of the most memorable and unsettling depictions – in Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins (1996) – of the horrific events of that day when British forces fired upon players and supporters at a Gaelic football match. Covering films of all types, from Hollywood blockbusters to regional documentaries and newsreels, Dr Crosson’s new book Sport, Film and National Culture considers how filmic depictions of sport have configured and informed a wide range of distinctive national cultures, societies and identities. Featuring case studies from eleven national contexts across six continents – including North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania – it reveals the common and contrasting approaches that have emerged within sport cinema in differing national contexts. Dr Crosson said: “This is the first collection dedicated to examining the intersection of sport, film and national culture. We are delighted to bring together such a distinguished range of speakers to contribute to our launch webinar, including participants from six countries and addressing seven distinct national contexts. While responding to the distinctive features evident in each context considered, these contributors individually and collectively speak to the ongoing significance of the relationship between sport cinema and national culture and identity.” Director of NUI Galway’s Moore Institute, Professor Daniel Carey, said: “This is a fascinating volume that addresses issues of race, gender, and politics in the filmic representation of sport. Attention to differing national contexts across several continents creates important avenues for understanding the cultural meaning of sporting activity, ranging from football to cricket, boxing, American football and baseball, and beyond.” The webinar brings together a broad range of contributors to this book, who are leading authorities on sport and film, to explore the intersection of these prominent cultural forces internationally. Chaired by Dr Crosson, contributors to the webinar will include: Dr Michael W. Thomas, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Ethiopian Screen Worlds, University of London Dr Grant Wiedenfeld, Assistant Professor of Media and Culture in the Department of Mass Communication at Sam Houston State University Dr Manuel Garin, Senior Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona Dr Stephen Glynn, Associate Research Fellow at De Montfort University, Leicester Dr Jesse Schlotterbeck, Associate Professor of Cinema at Denison University, Granville, Ohio Dr Ellen Wright, Senior Lecturer in Cinema and Television History, De Montfort University, Leicester Dr Francesco Buscemi, Lecturer in History of Radio and TV, Catholic University of Milan. Pauline Peixoto Iglesias Vargas, PhD candidate in Physical Education, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil. Dr Gina Daddario, Lin Rong San Professor of Communication at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. Rebeccah Dawson, Assistant Professor of German Studies, University of Kentucky. To attend please register at https://bit.ly/3lcYglm. For more on the Moore Institute’s Sport & Exercise Research Group visit: https://mooreinstitute.ie/research-group/sport-identity-representation/ For further information on the collection, please visit:  https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780429327018       -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Global law firm DLA Piper has today announced the launch of the Terence O’Malley DLA Piper Scholarship in partnership with NUI Galway's School of Law. The new scholarship, which is named after Terry O’Malley, Chairman Emeritus (US), will provide funding and support to students in financial need studying in the University’s award-winning School of Law. As well as the scholarship, which will provide support to successful students over the course of their degree, a separate annual Terence O’Malley DLA Piper bursary will be awarded to the student achieving the highest grade in the University’s new Law and Innovation module. As part of the partnership, Mr. O’Malley, who has family roots in the West of Ireland, will also host an annual lecture with law students at the University. Commenting on the announcement, Terry O’Malley, Chairman Emeritus, DLA Piper said: “Ireland holds a special place in my heart, and I am delighted to be associated with this awards programme. I look forward to helping develop this programme in the coming years.” David Carthy, Country Managing Partner Ireland, DLA Piper said: “NUI Galway’s School of Law is ranked 85th in the world for Law in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject,  and we are proud to partner with the school to support deserving students as they pursue their studies in law. “At DLA Piper, we pride ourselves in being an innovative law firm, committed to embracing technology and adapting to meet the needs of global business. We look forward to seeing what innovative thinking the recipients of the annual Terence O’Malley DLA Piper bursary contribute to the industry in the future and we wish all of the students the very best in their studies.” Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of the School of Law, NUI Galway added: “We are delighted to announce this exciting partnership with DLA Piper, who are recognised as one of the most innovative global law firms. We are very proud of our law students and greatly welcome this scholarship scheme and prize funded by DLA Piper, which will support students in reaching their full potential.” Applications for the scholarship are now open and further details of the scholarship are available at www.nuigalway.ie/dlapiperscholarship.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

A researcher in women’s studies has been selected to take part in the 7th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings on Economic Sciences, to highlight the costs of violence against women. Dr Mrinal Chadha, a postdoctoral researcher at NUI Galway’s Centre for Global Women’s Studies, will engage with Nobel laureates and academics on the need for policy change on the issue. The 7th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences #LINOEcon will bring together young economists and Laureates of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on Lake Constance in August 2022. The Lindau is a unique scientific forum normally held every three years to foster exchange of ideas between different generations, cultures and disciplines from all over the world.  An expert in feminist and development economics, Dr Chadha was nominated by the School of Political Science and Sociology and recommended by the Irish Research Council. He is one of 373 young economists from 60 countries who have been selected to take part. Dr Chadha said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated violence against women and girls, especially domestic violence. With my work, I aim to highlight the economic costs of this violence, with the ultimate goal of policy changes to positively impact the lives of women. “While humanity has evolved over thousands of years, our society still hasn’t given women what they deserve, which is an equal status with men. I hope to use the opportunity at Lindau to share my ideas and evidence for much needed change.” The Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences was originally scheduled to take place last summer. It has been postponed until 2022 due to the impact of Covid-19. Dr Chadha added: “Beyond gender-based violence, I am also a passionate advocate of reducing inequality in the world which has worsened due to the pandemic. While high income countries have the resources to fight this pandemic and provide necessary supports to their citizens, most low income countries don’t”. “High income countries have a responsibility to provide much larger supports to low income countries, compared to what they are currently providing. I hope to collaborate on this with fellow young economists in Lindau.” Ends   

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Findings include increased anxiety, learning less at home, and decline in interest Researchers from the School of Education at NUI Galway have published the findings of the online survey of parents’, children’s and young people’s experiences of ‘schooling at home’. The report, ‘Schooling at Home in Ireland during COVID-19: Perspectives and Experiences of Primary and Second-level Students and their Parents’, was conducted between June and August of this year and carried out in collaboration with the National Parents’ Council Primary. Responses were obtained from 2,733 parents, 896 primary school students and 293 second-level students. Dr Niamh Flynn, lead researcher on the study and lecturer with NUI Galway’s School of Education, said: “A priority of the research was to capture the voices of children and young people in relation to their lived experiences of ‘schooling at home’ during the period of the school building closures. Taking advantage of a time-point that allowed for reflection on the entire period of school building closures, the study illuminates students’ perceptions of learning less, becoming less motivated over time, and being more stressed and anxious in the ‘schooling at home’ context relative to the traditional school context.” Key findings from the study: Perceptions of poorer learning progress at home than at school: A small majority of primary school participants (52%) and a large majority of second-level participants (73%) felt that they had learned less at home than at school. Decline in interest in ‘schooling at home’ over time: Parents and students were clear that interest and engagement in ‘schooling at home’ had decreased significantly over the relevant time period (82% of primary parents, 71% of second-level parents, 67% of second-level students). Inadequate technology to support ‘schooling at home’ in some homes: Approximately 27% of both primary and second-level parents reported that they did not have enough devices to support ‘schooling at home’. 8.3% of primary parents and 12.2% of second-level parents reported that they had inadequate internet connection. Increased stress and anxiety among parents and students: Many students and parents reported experiencing increased levels of stress and anxiety. Students greatly missed their friends and the social interaction inherent in school life. Parents worried about their children’s academic progress, social-emotional development, and mental health. A small number of parents felt that their children benefited from individual support, more family time and freedom to learn new or different things. The impossibility of juggling work-home-children responsibilities: Working parents and/or parents with several children, with no childcare, found juggling multiple work-home-children responsibilities exhausting, “impossible”, and unsustainable. Need for children to return to school full-time: A very prominent theme in parent responses was the need for children to return to school full-time for academic, social, and mental health reasons. In general, students were positive about returning to school. Calls for more consistency and direction from the Department of Education and Skills (DES): Some parents and students emphasised the need for more live teaching and feedback on completed work if ‘schooling at home’ were to resume. A strong desire for more consistency and direction from the DES in relation to remote learning provision by schools was emphasised by parents. Dr Elaine Keane, co-researcher of the study and Senior Lecturer with NUI Galway’s School of Education, said: “The study speaks to the unsustainability for working parents and/or parents with several children, with no childcare, of juggling support for ‘schooling at home’ across multiple learning levels with work-home-childcare responsibilities during a period of school closures.” Professor Gerry MacRuairc, co-researcher and Head of the School of Education at NUI Galway, said: “Appropriate support and training is needed for all principals and teachers in developing good practice for remote and blended teaching and learning. It would seem timely to focus now on ensuring a more integrated model of learning that draws on the more explicit integration of online platforms and teaching and learning strategies into future pedagogy as a matter of course.” The full report and executive summary of the study findings is available at: https://tinyurl.com/Schoolingathome -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Research on cell analysis to drive new cancer treatment, adapting nature to clear pollution and developing new animal feed to reduce methane emissions are among the NUI Galway projects being supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funding. More than €6.5million is being provided to progress the studies under SFI’s Frontiers for the Future Programme announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD. Among the projects being funded is research by Dr Aideen Ryan, from NUI Galway’s School of Medicine, which is focused on new ways to boost the body’s natural ability to fight colorectal cancer. Dr Ryan’s research is seeking to understand how the sugars that naturally coat cancer cells affect how those cells grow and interact with their surroundings. If successful, the project could point to a new way to treat cancer. “The key to finding new immunotherapies is understanding how cells within the tumour communicate with our immune system,” Dr Ryan said. “In colorectal cancer only a proportion of patients respond to or are eligible for current immunotherapies. I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead this research which will uncover new ways to restore immune cell function in colorectal cancer focusing on interactions between tumour associated glycoproteins and immune cells in colorectal cancer. Our aim is to improve therapeutic options and outcomes for patients.”  Also included in the SFI funded programme are two projects led by academics in NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences. One project led by Professor Vincent O’Flaherty is looking at new additives for animal feed and manure, to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and get more value from manure. “Our research is looking at using two naturally occurring additives in animal feed, or adding them to the manure or slurry that they produce,” Professor O’Flaherty said. “By using these we can temporarily switch off some microbes. We can lock in gases like methane and we can ensure the animals get more nutrients from their food. About one third of Ireland’s greenhouse emissions come from agriculture, so progressing research like this and seeing how it can be applied on farms is huge in terms of the environmental implications, cost saving and getting the best from our animals and land.” The second project from the School of Natural Sciences is led by Dr Ronan Sulpice who is researching how sea lettuce could be grown on the coast to clean pollution from wastewater and estuaries. “The research is looking at sea lettuce varieties – seaweeds which can grow in brackish water - to see which would be suitable to help clean municipal or agricultural waste water,” Dr Sulpice said. “Our study will see if we can use them to reduce nitrates in the sea or estuaries by diverting waste water into special pools where the seaweeds would be grown. Then we will also be able to study how we can use the seaweeds when they are harvested. It is like looking for nature’s cure for a human problem.” Commenting on the SFI funding programme, Minister Harris said: “The funding will support researchers who are already carrying out excellent work in Ireland, as well as those in the early stages of their research careers who hold incredible potential. It is through investment like this that Ireland will become an innovation leader and provide solutions and opportunities for our society and economy.” Here are the NUI Galway projects being supported under the SFI Frontiers for the Future Awards: Dr Aideen Ryan – School of Medicine. Research to understand how sugars that naturally coat cancer cells affect how the cancer cells grow and interact with their surroundings. If successful, the project could point to a new way to treat cancer. Award - €697,606 Professor Vincent O’Flaherty – School of Natural Sciences. A research team will develop new additives for animal feed and manure, to reduce agricultural greenhouse-gas emissions and get more value from manure. Award - €762,365 Ronan Sulpice – School of Natural Sciences. Research on how sea lettuce could be grown in coastal regions to ‘depollute’ wastewater and estuaries. Award - €478,783 Noel Lowndes – School of Natural Sciences. Canonical and non-canonical roles for ATR in maintenance of genomic integrity. Award - €877,338 Dimitrios Zeugolis – School of Engineering. Cell Assembled Tissue Engineered Remedies for Enhanced Regeneration (CATERER) Award - €998,390 Professor James O'Gara – School of Natural Sciences. Targeting membrane transporters to increase antibiotic susceptibility in bacterial pathogens. Award - €477,395 Eilís Dowd – School of Medicine. Harnessing the potential of biomaterials for improving stem cell-derived brain repair for Parkinson’s disease €459,527 Gerhard Schlosser – School of Natural Sciences. Cofactor-dependent functions of Eya1 in sensory neurogenesis. Award - €393,893 Katarzyna Goljanek-Whysall – College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Pre-clinical development of oxi-mir inhibitors for muscle wasting. Award - €475,909 Professor Charles Spillane – School of Natural Sciences. Harnessing haploid inducers & cyto-nuclear interactions for enhanced plant growth and heterosis effects for sustainable agriculture (CytoHeterosis). Award - €479,966 Dr Andrew Simpkin - School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics (along with Norma Bargary UL). Functional data Analysis for Sensor Technologies. Award - €467,569 Ends

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

A new report from NUI Galway examines farmers’ attitudes and preferences for climate change adaptation. The overarching aims of the report are to present findings on farmers’ beliefs regarding climate change, the drivers and barriers of climate change adaptation and the willingness of Irish farmers to engage in specific adaptation measures related to insurance protection for their own farm and improved flood protection for downstream communities.   The report is part of the RiskAquaSoil project led by Association Climatologique de la Moyenne-Garonne et du Sud-Ouest (A.C.M.G) with partners from the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway. The project aims to develop a comprehensive management plan for risks in soil and in water to improve the resilience of the Atlantic rural and agricultural areas to climate change.  To achieve this, the project has three key aims: Improved early warning and diagnosis of meteorological phenomena for rural areas Improved soil and water management for risks associated with climate change  Enhanced capacity building and training of local communities The report found that over one-third of Irish farmers are concerned about extreme weather events impacting their farming activities and that farmers are most concerned about the impacts of storms, droughts and flooding. Within the study, farmers were asked whether they would be willing to help reduce the risk of flooding to downstream communities, over 40% of farmers indicated they would. Almost 70% of farmers indicated a willingness to use insurance as a method to protect their farm financially against damages caused by extreme weather events. Edel Doherty, Lecturer in Economics at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway and co-author of the study, said: “The farmer is the central decision-maker in achieving farm adaptation to climate change, therefore it is critical to understand from the farmer’s perspective what they view as the key barriers and enablers of adaptation.” The report found that while Irish farmers are aware of the effects of climate change on weather, they felt unprepared for very severe weather. Farmers highlighted a number of resource constraints (related to financial, time and capacity) that impeded their ability to undertake adaptation. Moreover, farmers felt unsure of what adaptation measures they could undertake on their own farm and they felt they lacked practical and reliable information concerning adaptation. In general, farmers are most willing to undertake farm adaptation or mitigation if it was economically beneficial to do so. To help adaptation, additional resources, including financial resources and training, the availability of tailored information on specific adaptation measures for individual farms, locally-based agri-environment schemes and farm networks were mentioned by farmers as important enablers. To discuss the report, NUI Galway are holding a free webinar on Thursday, 12 November from 1-2pm. The webinar will present an overview of the report alongside findings from the wider RiskAquaSoil project that will include presentations on: Farmers Attitudes and Preferences for Climate Change Adaptation: An Irish case study - Dr Edel Doherty, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway Study of Local Communities Views for a New Culture of Risk in the Face of Climate Change - Julia James, The Climatologic Association of Middle Garonne and South-West of France (A.C.M.G) Climate Change Media Communication in Ireland and Portugal -Neide P Areina, Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal Soils in partnership - Dr Laurence Couldrick, Westcountry Rivers Trust Details of the event and registration are available at: https://bit.ly/37ZiECV. To read the full report, visit: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/project/risk-aqua-soil/. -Ends-

Monday, 2 November 2020

The NUI Galway Laptop Loan Scheme allows students from low income households to receive a laptop for the duration of their studies In the first round of the NUI Galway Laptop Loan Scheme which opened in September, over 600 students will receive a free laptop from the university to assist them with their online learning. The scheme, which is being run through the NUI Galway’s Access Centre, is part of the package of COVID-19 supports for higher and further education institutions, with funding provided by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to support disadvantaged students in the higher education sector in accessing ICT devices. Under this scheme undergraduate, postgraduate and part-time students who meet the eligibility criteria may receive a laptop, on long-term loan, in order to assist with online learning for the duration that they are registered students with NUI Galway. Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This scheme is of huge benefit to our most disadvantaged students. This year in particular, when it has been necessary to move learning online, the purchasing of laptops could potentially be a major stumbling block for those in low income households, this scheme is easing that burden for many students. So many of the students were overjoyed when collecting their laptops.” Distribution of the laptops, complicated by COVID-19 restrictions, was carried out by the Chaplaincy team and James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway. Eligibility is prioritised on a needs basis. Students from low income households and the identified target groups who demonstrate that they or their family do not have the means to purchase such a device themselves qualify to apply for the scheme. The second round of the Laptop Loan Scheme opens today (Monday, 2 November).  For more information on the scheme, criteria and application process visit: www.nuigalway.ie/laptoploanscheme -Ends-

Monday, 2 November 2020

NUI Galway has welcomed two students from Donegal who have been awarded the Optum Healthcare Scholarship. Optum Ireland, part of the UnitedHealth Group, has announced this year’s scholars at the University - Artur Kryszkowski, formerly a student at St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny who is studying Biomedical Science and Siobhán Griffin, formerly a student at St Columba’s Stranorlar, who is studying the recently launched BSc Genetics and Genomics. NUI Galway Deputy President and Registrar Pól Ó Dochartaigh praised the Optum Healthcare Scholarship and highlighted the impact it is making for students and their families in Donegal.  “The scholarship is giving young people access to university, to academic study and to a future that may otherwise have been closed to them,” Professor Ó Dochartaigh said. “The programme is a shining example of a multinational supporting families and individuals in the community where it is based and trying to open doors to a bright and exciting future for them. I wish Optum every success with its operations in Letterkenny and I wish the students on the scholarship every success for the future.” The Optum Healthcare Scholarship at NUI Galway, established in 2018, is designed to support students who come from less advantaged backgrounds and may face additional challenges accessing third level education. This year’s scholars will benefit from annual financial assistance, as well as other support they may require to complete their undergraduate studies. Three other students from Donegal are already benefitting from the scholarship programme at NUI Galway – Liam Orr, studying Medicine, Charlotte Timony studying Psychology and Shaneen Graham studying Biopharmaceutical Chemistry. All of the successful scholars are studying healthcare and related programmes. Padraig Monaghan, chief executive of Optum Ireland, said: “Optum has a presence in the North West for more than 20 years. Our scholarship program is designed to meet the needs and realities of this cross border region and support the local healthcare system. We are delighted that our contribution comes at a time when there is an acute focus on the healthcare service and an increased level of application to third level healthcare courses in Ireland." Artur Kryszkowski said: “This scholarship means everything to me. It allows me to focus on my studies whilst not having to worry about the financial side of college."  Siobhan Griffin said: “Receiving the Optum Scholarship is a huge honour for me and it will enable me to pursue my dream career. I feel very privileged that my determination and potential have been recognised and this has further inspired me to succeed in all future endeavours. This scholarship will be an immense support, especially during these challenging times, and I am incredibly grateful." Liam Orr, from Letterkenny, an Optum Healthcare Scholar in his third year studying medicine in NUI Galway, said: “Living away from home, the cost of living accommodation and travel is considerable. The Optum scholarship has taken the pressure off myself and my family. There is a great sense of security knowing that the support is there and the support, coming as it does from a local company, has meant a lot. I have been able to focus more on my studies and I’ve been able to travel home and stay connected to my family and community. My ambition is to work in a community-based practice at home in Donegal.” The Optum Healthcare Scholarship Program for 2021/22 will be launched in January 2021. ENDS

Monday, 2 November 2020

Irish Research Council Government of Ireland awards will fuel the pipeline of early-stage researchers across all disciplines NUI Galway has been awarded funding for 39 Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships under the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes. Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD announced funding for a total of 209 Postgraduate Scholarships and 87 Postdoctoral Fellowships. The awards represent an investment of over €21 million in early career researchers across all academic disciplines. The NUI Galway award recipients will conduct research into a multitude of topics ranging from effective targeted immunotherapy in a local refillable delivery system for ovarian cancer; cognitive deficits in schizophrenia; humanitarian aid in hostile environments; food provision and the homeless population; changing patterns of political violence and peaceful protest in European democracies; adaptive optics performance for the European Extremely Large Telescope; and providing insights from climate archives. Welcoming this year’s awardees, Minister Harris, said: “I am delighted to announce this investment by government in developing the next generation of research leaders across disciplines. Across higher education, enterprise, civil society and the public sector, expert knowledge and skills is a critical need for our present and our future. The awards announced will support a pipeline of research talent which will be at the forefront of addressing the many challenges and opportunities we face.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “It is wonderful to receive this investment from the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes. I congratulate this year’s talented group of 39 postgraduate scholars and postdoctoral fellows, whom I have no doubt will contribute greatly to critical societal needs through their multi-disciplinary research that will have a positive impact across all sectors of society.” This year’s 30 postgraduate scholars from NUI Galway include: Judit Villena Rodó, Law, will study - Migrant Women, Coercive Control and Intimate Partner Violence: an examination of women’s ability to access remedies in Ireland and Spain. Roisin O'Malley, Psychology, will identify - Learning from what goes well: Improving the quality of primary care. Nikolett Warner, Psychology, will investigate - Being diagnosed with cancer promoting genetic mutations BRCA 1 and 2 in Ireland: Development of an intervention to enhance coping skills and improve knowledge. Aislaigh Cahillane, Literature, will study - Narratives of Water (In)Justice in Contemporary Hydrofictions from Australia, Ireland and the United States of America. Clara Mallon, Theatre Studies, will study - Invisible Ireland? Performing and Representing the Working-Class in Irish Theatre during the Celtic Tiger Era. Dakota Holmes, Physical Geography, will study - Providing Insights from Climate Archives: a multiproxy approach for the reconstruction of Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) response to Quaternary climate events. Maria Cullen, History, will study - Humanitarian aid in hostile environments: comparing the emergency relief operations of Oxfam and Médecins sans Frontières in the Global South, 1979-1986. Siobhán Hamon, Microbiology, Virology and Mycology, will study - Therapeutic potential of parasite-derived immunomodulatory peptides in the treatment of sepsis and acute kidney injury. Divya Ravikumar, Sociology, will study - Food provision and the homeless population: working together to enable solutions. Emma Corley, Psychology, will investigate - Cognitive Deficits in Schizophrenia: Characterising the Combined Effects of Common Genetic Variation and Early Life Adversity. Alan Keane, Medical Biotechnology, will investigate - The Development of a Next-Generation Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Therapy for Critical Limb Ischaemia. V’cenza Cirefice, Geography, will examine - Local environmental resistance to extractivism in Ireland: A feminist environmental justice lens. Beatrice Canossi, Law, will examine - The use of truth commissions’ evidence in prosecutions: bridging gaps and information sharing between international prosecutions and truth seeking mechanisms. Deborah Malone, who studies Optics, will investigate limitations on Adaptive Optics performance for the European Extremely Large Telescope. Deborah Mireles, Business and Management, will study - Understanding Subsidiary Managers Engagement in Strategic Activities. Deborah also won the Irish Academy of Management Best Paper Award at the 2020 Doctoral Colloquium for her paper on this same research topic. Elizabeth Quirke, Literatures, will study - When They Talk About Mothers’: Investigating Queer Kinship in Contemporary Poetry. Federica Modafferi, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, will study – Investigating the Transgenerational Inheritance of Centromeres using a Bovine In Vitro Fertilisation Model System. Francesca Guido, Classics, will study - Recovering the sources, influence and transmission of Charisius’ Latin grammar. John Ivory, Microbiology, Virology and Mycology, will investigate the reliability and diagnostic validity of clinical manifestations of biofilm in venous leg ulcers. Kathy Dillon, French, will examine - Representing the ‘Other’: The Sociological Importance of Contemporary Francophone women writers: Leïla Slimani, Noufissa Sabï and Houria Boussejra Keith Lyons, Zoology, Ornithology, Entomology and Behavioural Sciences Biology, will study - Venomous Invaders: Investigating the role of venom in ecological invasions. Laura Cutugno, Microbial Genetics, will investigate - Genetic characterisation of the Vibrio vulnificus stressosome and its role in stress response and virulence. Lioba Verena Speicher, Classics, will study - The Old Norse Sagas of Antiquity: a study in cross-cultural Classical reception and transnational networks in Medieval Scandinavia, Ireland, and Europe. Lorene Lefebvre, Agricultural Biotechnology, will examine - Deciphering mechanisms of Biological Nitrification Inhibition in forage and model grasses. Martin Kenny, Theatre Studies, will study - Queer Connections: identifying and expanding a sense of a queer national consciousness through the production, presentation and reception of Irish theatre and performance, from 1960 – 2020. Mary Hopkins, Zoology, Ornithology, Entomology, Behavioural Sciences Biology, will investigate - Preclinical and clinical investigation of the endocannabinoid system as a viable novel target for diagnosis and treatment of low back pain. Marylette Roa, Microbiology, Virology and Mycology, will examine - Diversity and ecology of squamate gut microbiome. Meghan Winterlich, Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry, will investigate - Synthesis and characterisation of novel magnetic metal organic frameworks for a targeted delivery of anti-cancer drugs through magnetic dynamic therapy. Michela Dianetti, Italian, will study - The Narrative of Objects as Ethical Facts in Iris Murdoch and Elsa Morante. Seun Adebayo, Education, will examine - Developing more culturally responsive pedagogies with Irish primary school teachers using a learning study approach. This year’s 9 postdoctoral fellows from NUI Galway are: Joanne O’Dwyer, Cell Biology, will investigate - Creation of effective targeted immunotherapy in a local refillable delivery system for ovarian cancer. Dieter Reinisch, History, will study - Changing patterns of political violence and peaceful protest in European democracies: A historical comparison of social movements in Germany and Ireland. Ciaran Arthur, History, will study - Intentional Obscurity and ‘Divine Speech’ in Early English Texts. Cliona Hensey, French, will examine - Reconstructive Memory Work: Trauma, Witnessing and the Imagination in Contemporary Writing by Daughters of Harkis. Dnyaneshwar Garad, Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry, will investigate - Sulfamidates as Electrophilic Reagents for the Site-Specific Incorporation of Biologically Relevant Post-translationally Modified Lysine Residues into Protein. Dualta O Fionnagain, Astronomy and Space Science, will study - Characterising high speed transient radio emission from planetary electrostatic discharges using the Owens Valley Low Wavelength Array. Gabriel Krasovec, Developmental Biology, will examine - Exploring the morphogenetic functions of apoptosis in the cnidarian Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus. Mehmet Gurdal, Medical Biotechnology, will examine - Development and assessment of full-thickness scaffold-free human corneal equivalents using macromolecular crowding. Saidulu Konda, Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry, will study - Fabrication of bioinspired artificial extracellular matrix scaffold for diabetic wound care. Congratulating this year’s awardees, Irish Research Council Director, Peter Brown, said: “The Irish Research Council Government of Ireland awards form a critical pillar within Ireland’s research and innovation eco-system. The two programmes, addressing postgraduate and postdoctoral research, are the only ones of their kind in Ireland, funding excellent research across all disciplines and are highly competitive, nationally and internationally. Awardees benefit greatly from having obtained a research award in their own name, demonstrating world-class potential in their chosen field from early-career stage. Through this and other IRC programmes, the Council continues to deliver the best and brightest research talent for Ireland. Working hand-in-glove with our research-performing organisations, awardees will expand the frontiers of knowledge and generate the research and innovations that will help to address national and global societal challenges.” Each year the Government of Ireland Programmes collaborate with strategic funding partners to run themed calls. A number of this year’s awardees are supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs. The 2021 calls are now open on the IRC website and offer new collaborative funding opportunities with additional themed calls from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Met Éireann and the Department of Rural and Community Development. Further information about the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland programmes is available at www.research.ie.   -Ends-

Monday, 2 November 2020

Five-part documentary series by RTÉ and the Irish Universities Association which shines a light on seven university students helping to change the face of higher education including NUI Galway Doctoral Student Róisín Farragher The Irish Universities Association has partnered with RTÉ to create My Uni Life, a five-part series which follows the lives of seven students at various stages of their university journey. Whether it’s dealing with the challenges of having a disability, the stereotypes associated with socially disadvantaged backgrounds or having the courage to go to university at a later stage in life, these students represent just 7 out of more than 5000 students each year whose desire to succeed at third level education is facilitated and supported by the Access and Disability programmes run by Irish Universities.  Each student comes from a different background, accessing university through a variety of routes, but with determination that is key to the personal difficulties they have faced. Filmed over the past 12 months, the series provides a unique and authentic insight into the lives of seven students across the country, as they navigate through personal challenges and the current Covid-19 pandemic while trying to grapple with the move to remote learning. Speaking about her success in higher education, despite being the first in her family to attend University and having a difficult childhood, Róisín Farragher, a doctoral student at NUI Galway, stated: “I hope that people watching the documentary will feel motivated. I hope that when they watch it, they see me, but do not pity me. Rather they think about pushing themselves further and challenging themselves. I hope people take every opportunity offered to them and never let a horrible or tough childhood or any other challenges stand in their way. I hope they see that they have a right to everything good that comes to them and so they take those opportunities and be grateful.” Every year approximately 1000 students from underrepresented groups enter NUI Galway. Commenting on the impact of access schemes at NUI Galway, Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre said: “Our belief is that Access is more than a student’s initial pathway into higher education. For those from traditionally under-represented groups, we believe Access means students having the supports to successfully participate and remain in higher education, to achieve graduation and the opportunity thereafter to progress in their chosen career or to further postgraduate study. As a University we remain committed to diversity and equality of opportunity, to combating educational disadvantage in our region and beyond, and to ensuring university education is for everyone. This documentary shows that NUI Galway supports all students from all backgrounds succeed, irrespective of their circumstances of birth.” Outlining the role Irish universities play, Jim Miley, Director General of the IUA said: “Irish universities play a crucial and growing role in fostering and enabling social inclusion and mobility. The many access routes the universities support are key to building a long-term inclusive society in Ireland. As a result of the work done by the Access and Disability programmes run by Irish Universities the student body is becoming a more and more diverse group. It is incredibly positive to see that in the 2017/18 academic year 15% of entrants were from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, while almost 10% of new entrants had some form of disability and 6.6% were mature students. But, we have much more to do. It is paramount that we do everything possible to support increased access for all students who need it.” Beginning on Friday, 6 November, at 7.30pm, the series will run for five weeks across RTÉ One featuring seven different students and their own personal journeys to higher education. The students are: Róisín Farragher from Galway and studying at NUI Galway; Adam Freegrove from Dublin studying at UCD; Cathal Blake from Meath studying at DCU; Alpha Ike from Cavan studying at MU; Courtney McGrath from Cavan studying at TCD; Chrisdina O’Neill from Cork studying at UCC; and Shaun Fogarty from Tipperary studying at UL. More information on the series can be found on www.iua.ie/myunilife  -Ends-

Monday, 2 November 2020

The project will facilitate and enhance the digital skills and competences of those working in housing and property, real estate, and associated activities across Europe. NUI Galway’s Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy (CHLRP) has been successful in its bid for an EU ERASMUS+ funding award of €500,000 with five European partners. Over three years, the project will design and create an international online course for housing and property professionals in the public and private sectors. The modules, materials and learning tools will include PROPTECH – a term which includes blockchain, smart contracts, as well as online transactions and platforms for housing, property and real estate exchange and management. These will enhance digital skills and competences, and produce a skills management tool for housing and real estate operations, based on a mobile micro-learning platform. One part focusses on developing learning tools for professionals managing apartments/condominiums. Dr Padraic Kenna, Director of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway,, said: “This award recognises the European perspective of our work at NUI Galway, and makes our expertise and knowledge of housing and property issues available to an EU-wide audience. Our European and Irish housing and property law expertise at NUI Galway was integral to the successful €500,000 bid. The project will develop state of the art online learning tools to enhance learner engagement, motivation and participation. The ultimate training will be available for professionals involved in the housing, property and real estate fields, as well as policymakers.” ERASMUS+ is the EU's programme to support education, training, youth and sport. With a budget of €14.7 billion for 2014-2020 it provides opportunities for over four million participants to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad. In addition to offering grants, Erasmus+ also supports teaching, research, networking and policy debate on EU topics. The European partners in this project with NUI Galway are UNESCO Housing Chair (Spain), University of Silesia (Poland), Union Internationale de la Propriete Immobiliere (Belgium), Infrachain, a.s.b.l. (Luxembourg) and Fundacion Iberioamericana del Conocimiento (Spain).  Recently, the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy published a set of Briefing Papers on integrating housing rights into the EU economic governance framework. This is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/chlrp/news/this-time-it-will-be-different.html -Ends-

Thursday, 29 October 2020

NUI Galway Speech and Language academics and students have embarked on a new telehealth clinical placement offering approximately 30 online appointments daily in English and Irish. This clinical placement, using the HSE online platform Attend Anywhere, is run in collaboration with therapists from the HSE West, HSE Donegal and Voices for Down Syndrome Galway. The new facility not only offers learning opportunities and the ability for students to complete their practice education training through clinical placements, but also allows clients to access health care services and therapy from the comfort and safety of their homes. Laura Loftus, Practice Education Coordinator, Speech and Language Therapy at NUI Galway said: “Speech and Language Therapist students are required to complete their practice education training through clinical placements in hospitals and healthcare facilities where they acquire and develop these skills. As a consequence of Covid-19, clinical placements became scarce due to reduced speech and language therapy services, increased measures of infection control and the redeployment of therapists to COVID-19 related duties. To deal with this crisis and provide enough clinical hours for our students, the discipline of Speech and Language Therapy at NUI Galway turned to telehealth. “This is the first time that clinical placements for Speech and Language Therapy students are based on providing telehealth and not face-to-face work with clients. Every week, under supervision, 27 fourth year Speech and Language Therapy students offer approximately 30 telehealth appointments daily. To support the delivery of appointments the students are creating a bank of video podcasts which demonstrate activities they will be targeting in therapy. This ensures families have support material to review between sessions.” The students work with clients of all ages including some with Down Syndrome, Autism, Parkinson’s Disease, or clients who have had strokes and children with speech and language needs. Initially they contact clients to explain the service, then arrange appointments and send out the materials used for each session. Sessions last from 20-45 minutes and are supervised by a qualified Speech and Language Therapist. Afterwards follow up material is sent to the client based on the progress that they made. NUI Galway are also working with parents and schools to provide advice and offer much needed therapy programmes. Laura continued: “From the Clinical Educator perspective we can see how the students’ confidence, team work, problem solving and adaptability has developed over the last number of weeks and we are loving how they are growing in their ability and knowledge with every day that passes. We are also enthused by the positivity of clients. These telehealth clinical placements are a way of future-proofing the students for the world into which they will graduate, making them highly desirable healthcare employees. Telehealth has a dual benefit, the students are continuing to develop their clinical competencies and many patients, who otherwise would be on waiting lists, are now receiving treatment.” Speaking about the experience, Final Year Speech and Language Therapy student Mia Hanrahan from Ennis Co. Clare said: “I was apprehensive at first as I had never seen telehealth being used and knew that patients would be unsure as to how it would work for them in comparison to what they are used to. However, it's been a unique experience as we have been able to make a difference in the lives of children and adults without putting anyone at risk. It's been a great opportunity to learn how to problem solve and adapt traditional therapy techniques to an online format. I'm grateful to everyone who has taken part in therapy as it has shown to us just how beneficial telehealth can be.” Marie, a user of the service from Galway who has Parkinson’s Disease, commented: “It has been a very positive experience working with the students. Whilst I was somewhat sceptical at first I reminded myself that I was a student once and, like the girls, needed real hands on experience. They have made a huge effort to understand my specific needs and come up with exercises that are appropriate and productive as well as being suitable for the on-line platform. Both they and I have a vested interest in making this work- they need the experience and I need their specialist knowledge, so it is mutually beneficial scenario. The telehealth appointments are currently being rolled out across counties Galway and Donegal with plans to extend nationwide in due course. -Ends-

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Tá lucht acadúil agus mic léinn Urlabhra agus Teanga OÉ Gaillimh ag dul i mbun socrúcháin chliniciúil nua teileashláinte. Cuirfear thart ar 30 coinne ar fáil ar líne gach lá i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge. Cuirtear an socrúchán cliniciúil seo ar fáil trí leas a bhaint as ardán ar líne FSS Attend Anywhere, i gcomhar le teiripeoirí ó FSS an Iarthair, FSS Dhún na nGall agus Voices for Down Syndrome i nGaillimh. Ní hamháin go dtugann an áis nua seo deiseanna foghlama agus an cumas do mhic léinn a gcuid oiliúna san oideachas cleachtais a chur i gcrích trí shocrúcháin chliniciúla, ach tugann sé deis do chliaint rochtain a fháil ar sheirbhísí agus ar theiripe cúraim sláinte ón mbaile agus iad ar a gcompord agus slán sábháilte. Dúirt Laura Loftus, Comhordaitheoir don Oideachas Cleachtais, Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga in OÉ Gaillimh: “Caithfidh mic léinn Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga a gcuid oideachais cleachtais a chur i gcrích trí shocrúcháin chliniciúla in ospidéil agus in áiseanna cúraim sláinte áit a shealbhaíonn agus a fhorbraíonn siad na scileanna seo. Mar thoradh ar Covid-19, bhí socrúcháin chliniciúla gann mar gheall ar sheirbhísí laghdaithe teiripe urlabhra agus teanga, bearta méadaithe maidir le rialú ionfhabhtaithe agus teiripeoirí a bheith athlonnaithe chuig dualgais a bhaineann le COVID-19. Chun déileáil leis an ngéarchéim seo agus dóthain uaireanta cliniciúla a sholáthar dár gcuid mac léinn, bhain disciplín na Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga in OÉ Gaillimh leas as teileashláinte. “Is é seo an chéad uair a bhfuil socrúcháin chliniciúla do mhic léinn Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga bunaithe ar theileashláinte a sholáthar seachas ar bheith aghaidh ar aghaidh leis an duine. Gach seachtain, faoi mhaoirseacht, cuireann 27 mac léinn Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga sa cheathrú bliain thart ar 30 coinne teileashláinte ar fáil gach lá. Chun tacú leis na coinní seo a chur ar fáil tá na mic léinn ag cruthú bailiúchán podchraoltaí físe a léiríonn gníomhaíochtaí a mbeidh siad ag díriú orthu sa teiripe. Cinntíonn sé seo go bhfuil ábhar tacaíochta ag teaghlaigh le breathnú air idir na seisiúin.” Oibríonn na mic léinn le cliaint de gach aois, cuid acu a bhfuil Siondróm Down, Uathachas, Galar Parkinson orthu, nó cliaint a raibh stróc acu agus leanaí a bhfuil riachtanais urlabhra agus teanga acu. Ar dtús déanann siad teagmháil le cliaint chun an tseirbhís a mhíniú dóibh, ansin socraíonn siad coinní agus seolann siad na hábhair a úsáidfear i ngach seisiún chucu. Maireann seisiúin 20-45 nóiméad agus déanann Teiripeoir Urlabhra agus Teanga cáilithe maoirseacht orthu. Ina dhiaidh sin, seoltar ábhar leantach chuig an gcliant bunaithe ar an dul chun cinn a dhéanann siad. Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag obair le tuismitheoirí agus le scoileanna freisin chun comhairle a sholáthar agus cláir theiripe a bhfuil géarghá leo a thairiscint. Dúirt Laura an méid seo chomh maith: “Ó thaobh an Oideachais Chliniciúil de, is léir gur fhorbair muinín, obair foirne, réiteach fadhbanna agus inoiriúnaitheacht na mac léinn le roinnt seachtainí anuas agus is breá linn go bhfuil a gcumas agus a gcuid eolais ag méadú gach lá. Táimid an-tógtha le díograis na gcliant freisin. Is bealach iad na socrúcháin chliniciúla teileashláinte seo chun na mic léinn a chosaint sa todhchaí don saol ina mbainfidh siad céim amach, rud a fhágfaidh gur fostaithe cúram sláinte thar a bheith inmhianaithe a bheidh iontu. Tá dhá bhuntáiste le Teileashláinte, tá na mic léinn ag forbairt a n-inniúlachtaí cliniciúla i gcónaí agus tá go leor othar, a bheadh ar liostaí feithimh murach sin, ag fáil cóireála anois.” Ag labhairt di faoin taithí, dúirt Treasa Ní Mhíocháin, mac léinn Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga i mbliain deiridh na céime, as Leitir Ceanainn, Tír Chonaill: “Caithfidh mé a rá go bhfuil an t-ádh orainn go bhfuaireamar an taithí seo. Bhí sé i gcónaí ar intinn agam obair a dhéanamh le heagraíocht cosúil le “Voices for Galway”. Tá an t-ádh orainn freisin go mbeimid ag baint céime amach agus taithí againn ag obair ar líne. Táim ag baint an-sult as an socrúchán seo. Táim iontach buíoch do na léachtóirí uile chomh maith leis na hoidí."  Dúirt Marie, úsáideoir na seirbhíse as Gaillimh a bhfuil Galar Parkinson uirthi: “B’iontach an taithí é a bheith ag obair leis na mic léinn. Cé go raibh mé rud beag amhrasach ar dtús chuir mé i gcuimhne dom féin gur mac léinn a bhí ionam féin tráth agus, ach an oiread leis na cailíní, go raibh taithí phraiticiúil ag teastáil uaim. Rinne siad an-iarracht mo riachtanais shonracha a thuiscint agus chuimhnigh siad ar chleachtaí a bheadh oiriúnach agus éifeachtach chomh maith le bheith oiriúnach don ardán ar líne. Tá spéis ar leith acu féin agus agamsa san obair seo a dhéanamh - teastaíonn an taithí uathusan agus teastaíonn a saineolas uaimse, mar sin is tairbhe dúinn ar fad é. Tá na coinní teileashláinte á gcur i bhfeidhm faoi láthair ar fud chontaetha na Gaillimhe agus Dhún na nGall agus tá sé i gceist iad a chur ar fáil ar fud na tíre in am trátha. -Críoch-

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Dr Patrick McGetrick, a Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, recently won the Young Researcher Award at the biennial Civil Engineering Research in Ireland (CERI) conference. The award recognises the excellence of research carried out to date, and the potential of the awardee to grow further as an expert in their field in the future. The event also saw Best Paper awards won by NUI Galway Civil Engineering students Orlaith McGinley and Michael Conway, beating off stiff competition from submissions in their respective fields from around the country. Dr McGetrick, originally from Sligo, has over 12 years of experience in Civil Engineering, undertaking collaborative funded research on smart infrastructure and sensing technologies. He specialises in structural design, dynamics, testing, and monitoring of infrastructure such as bridges and buildings, utilising sensors and drones. Patrick McGetrick is a Principal Investigator on the Modular Mass Timber Building for the Circular Economy project at NUI Galway, which focuses on the design, development and experimental testing of a sustainable modular timber building solution, maximising the use of Irish timber in cross-laminated timber panels, and optimising the modules for future deconstruction and reuse. Dr McGetrick is currently co-supervising PhD research on the structural health monitoring of bridges using sensors and applications of image processing techniques, and 3D photogrammetry for structural inspections using drones. Speaking about the award, Dr Patrick McGetrick, College of Science and Engineering, NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to receive this award in recognition of my contribution to Civil Engineering research, both nationally and internationally. My ongoing research at NUI Galway aims to deliver engineering solutions which support the sustainable development of future cities and transport networks worldwide. It is also fantastic to see our students’ research being recognised. It is reflective of the excellent ongoing work in Civil Engineering at the University.” Orlaith McGinley from Derry, is a PhD student in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. She received the Best Paper in Energy award for her paper entitled ‘Key considerations in the design of a One-Stop-Shop retrofit model’, co-authored by Dr Paul Moran and Dr Jamie Goggins. The paper provides a definition and review of One-Stop-Shop retrofit delivery models for energy efficient retrofitting of existing dwellings in Ireland and Europe, which aims toimprove comfort, health, and well-being in support of the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan. Michael Conway from Galway, a recent graduate of the Master of Engineering (ME) course in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, received the Best Paper in Structures award for his paper entitled ‘Reinforcement of Timber Elements in Compression Perpendicular to the Grain using Compressed Wood Dowels’, co-authored by Dr Conan O’Ceallaigh, Mr Sameer Mehra and Professor Annette Harte of the Timber Engineering Research Group (TERG). Michael worked alongside TERG to complete his ME thesis research on the experimental testing of advanced engineered timber products. The CERI 2020 event was hosted by Cork Institution of Technology on behalf of the Civil Engineering Research Association of Ireland (CERAI). It was a fully virtual event this year, attracting 230 attendees from academia and practice and hosted seven keynote lectures, and 130 papers and presentations across nine technical streams. For more about the Modular Mass Timber Building for the Circular Economy project, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/terg/modcons/. For more about the Timber Engineering Research Group at NUI Galway, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/terg/. For more about the Sustainable and Resilient Structures Research Group, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/structures. -Ends-

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Venari Medical, an innovative medical device company based in Galway recently raised $5.3 million (€4.5 million) in seed equity funding to accelerate the development of its ground-breaking BioVena™ device for the treatment of chronic venous disease. Venari Medical is a spinout from the BioInnovate Ireland fellowship programme for medical device innovation at NUI Galway, which is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland. The investment round was led by Nipro Corporation, a world-leading medical product manufacturer based in Osaka, Japan. The Western Development Commission and Enterprise Ireland also contributed to the investment, in addition to international medical device experts and vascular surgeons. Chronic venous disease (CVD) affects up to 30% of adults across the globe resulting in a significant deterioration in quality of life for sufferers, especially those with advanced skin breakdown known as venous leg ulcers. The market opportunity of CVD treatment is over $2 billion annually in the US & EU. Recent high-quality clinical evidence, supporting the benefits of acute intervention to improve overall healing of venous leg ulcers, has the potential to add over $1.5 billion to this opportunity. CVD management places a huge burden on healthcare systems amounting to $33 billion (€28 billion) per year in the US and EU alone, representing 2.5% of total healthcare expenditure. Venari CEO and co-founder Stephen Cox commented “This seed investment accelerates a huge opportunity to improve the quality of life of sufferers of chronic venous disease (CVD) across the globe. This funding enables the clinical validation of our BioVena™ medical device, which we are confident will offer patients a less invasive and highly effective office-based treatment that is also an intuitive procedure for physicians treating CVD. We believe that widespread adoption of the BioVena ™ device has significant cost saving potential for healthcare systems.” Commenting on their investment, Toshiaki Masuda, Managing Director at Nipro Corporation said “We are very excited to invest in Venari Medical. Their focus on Chronic Venous Disease is an area of great patient need due to its high prevalence internationally and significant impact on quality of life. This less invasive solution under development will offer physicians an entirely new treatment option for all CVD patients. The Venari Medical team have impressed us greatly with this cutting-edge approach to venous disease treatment, from their novel pre-clinical research in vein biology, to collaborations with internationally recognised experts in venous disease treatment.” Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO, Western Development Commission commented “This technology will improve the lives of a huge number of people, and that has been the primary focus of Stephen Cox and the team at Venari since the outset. Equally, however, this investment, underlines the importance of supporting innovation driven enterprises, building on the success of the existing medtech ecosystem in Ireland’s western region” Manager of Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Ups Division, Jennifer Melia said; “This significant investment is as a result of Venari co-founders Stephen, Sean and Nigel’s commitment to strengthening treatment practices in healthcare and will allow them to transition to the next stage in business for Venari. As BioInnovate Ireland fellows, the Venari team are an example of how this collaborative programme funded by Enterprise Ireland is connecting experts and producing the next generation of healthcare entrepreneurs focused on improving lives. Their break-through, innovative BioVena™ device has not just the potential to transform lives the world over but to also reduce cost for healthcare systems treating chronic venous disease. Venari has been on Enterprise Ireland’s radar since it was first established and was one of 10 ambitious start-ups chosen to exhibit at Enterprise Ireland Big Ideas showcase last year having previously availed of the Commercialisation Fund. We are so pleased to support its development as the business set their sights on new global markets and we are excited to see what is next.” Established in 2018, Venari Medical has since developed a strong intellectual property position by perfecting a purely mechanical endovascular approach for the treatment of venous disease. Utilising the body’s natural healing mechanism, the Venari BioVena™ novel catheter system achieves effective mechanical vein disruption at a cellular level to cure symptoms. This allows for a less invasive and more effective treatment for all CVD patients, but critically patients suffering from venous leg ulcers will benefit most. Venari expects to create 20 new jobs in both senior management and technical, quality and regulatory roles over the next 3 years as a result of this investment. Venari Medical was founded by Stephen Cox MBA (CEO), Sean Cummins (CTO) and Dr. Nigel Phelan (Chief Medical Officer). Venari Medical’s mission focus is on innovation of unparalleled safe, effective, patient-centred medical devices that improve quality of life for those with debilitating vascular disease. See more at https://venarimedical.com/. -Ends-

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

First in world chemical free PPE product that will pave the way for safer methods of decontamination that do not cause harm to humans or the environment Aquila Bioscience, a medical technology company from NUI Galway, has successfully proven that its breakthrough Pathogen Capturing Technology safely removes 99.99% of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19) from human skin. This is the first time a nature inspired, safe and non-toxic technology that is free from all harmful chemicals, has been proven to remove COVID-19 from human skin with such efficiency. The environmentally friendly Class I device safely captures, removes and neutralizes harmful pathogens and viral infections like coronavirus from the skin and surfaces. The breakthrough is significant and occurs at a time when protecting society and controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the community is paramount. The results show that this novel technology is equally if not more effective as the highest performing chemical-based methods currently on the market but without any of the environmental or health problems. The proprietary Pathogen Capturing Technology is currently saturated onto a large wipe, sterilized and individually packaged. This Anti Bioagent Decontamination (ABD) Device is free from alcohol and toxic chemicals and can be safely and frequently used on sensitive areas of the human body including the eyes, nose and mouth without causing any adverse side effects as well as on sensitive equipment such as computer screens and non-corrosive surfaces. Unlike other products on the market, ABD Devices are environmentally safe as they are made from natural materials. Originally developed to protect first-responders and defence forces personnel from a potential biological attack from agents such as anthrax, plague and ricin, Aquila Bioscience has redirected the technology to make available to the government and corporate organisations as a decontamination solution in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. The ABD Device is currently approved by the Department of Education for use as emergency Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) across 4,000 primary and post primary education institutions in Ireland and used by the Irish Defence Forces. Lokesh Joshi, Founder of Aquila Bioscience and Professor in Glycoscience at NUI Galway, said: “The Aquila Bioscience’s innovative and ground breaking technology is a major game changer in the future of pathogen and infection control, and will pave the way for safer methods of decontamination that do not cause harm to humans or the natural world.” The study was carried out by an independent laboratory, NeoVirtech in Toulouse, France with expertise in Virology using donor human skin from cosmetic surgeries. When applied to the skin surface, the laboratory found that the ABD device removes pathogens from affected surfaces by binding to the pathogens with microscopic molecular hooks. Professor Joshi continued: “Currently we are very much focused on supplying this technology to the Irish markets. We are also interested in working with other international partners on how best to bring this technology to other global markets.” Garrett Murray, National Director for Horizon 2020 at Enterprise Ireland, said: “This is a great development and Aquila Bioscience is an excellent example of an Irish spinout that is engaging with the national and European research systems to support their scaling strategy. The Enterprise Ireland Horizon 2020 team is looking to engage with companies with similar ambition to support engagement with the European research and innovation system.” Lieutenant Colonel, Ray Lane (Retired), said: “In 2014 in my role of Commanding Officer of the Defence Forces Ordnance School, we worked closely with Professor Lokesh Joshi and his staff in future proofing our mutual capabilities. With the active support of the European Defence Agency, we looked at the threat from biological agents and designed scenarios for Professor Joshi. To see the innovative/novel development of the ABD today is a source of great pride and humility. As we began our work together in 2014, we agreed on our mission statement ‘Cooperation and Coordination saves lives’. This capability will indeed save many lives.” The technology was developed in collaboration with the Defence Forces in Ireland and the Czech University of Defence, and is supported by the European Defence Agency, the European Union Horizon 2020, and the European Innovation Council. For more information about Aquila Bioscience visit: www.aquilabioscience.com/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

A recent study from researchers at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, explores the use of optogenetics as a method to relieve chronic pain. Optogenetics uses genetically-encoded proteins that change position and shape in the presence of light to turn brain cells on or off.   Pain is comprised of both sensory (physical intensity) and affective (emotional distress) components. A part of the brain involved in the emotional component of pain is called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Dr Sarah Jarrin, CÚRAM, NUI Galway and first author of the paper, said: “There is significant overlap in the neural circuitry of pain and anxiety in our brains. Sensory pain is our body’s natural alarm system, it is an important mechanism that alerts us to injury and danger. So rather than turning off that alarm system, we are targeting the distress component of pain, a promising target for chronic pain relief that is not addressed by current treatments. “The technique of optogenetics is opening up lots of possibilities for further neuroscience research. With the use of light-activated proteins called opsins, optogenetics allows us to switch on or off a selective population of neurons that control this affective component of pain.” The study, funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), focused on the two components of pain (physical and emotional), the distinct roles they play in the pain experience, and how they can often influence one another. Chronic pain and anxiety frequently go hand in hand. People with chronic pain are also more likely to have anxiety and depression than the general population. The research looked specifically at the role of glutamatergic neurons of the ACC (glutamatergic neurons release the chemical transmitter glutamate, responsible for signalling between nerve cells) and changes in a protein marker of neuronal activity, known as c-Fos, in the ACC. The study was able to show that when the glutamatergic neurons in the ACC were silenced, it is possible to abolish the aversion to pain without affecting the sensory component of pain. The study also showed that optogenetic activation of glutamatergic neurons of the ACC has a differential effect in males and females in terms of pain response. Dr Jarrin added: “The inclusion of both sexes in pain studies is critical, because of differences in pain that have been observed between the sexes. Little is known about differences in the regulation of the physical and emotional components of pain in the male and female brain. Studies have found differences in the functional connectivity between the ACC and other brain regions of important regulating pain in males and females, which may account for differences in the effect of optogenetic treatment." Being able to target the emotional component of pain specifically could be therapeutically beneficial for patients with chronic pain, however further research to better understand the neural circuitry is required to develop these improved treatments. Professor David Finn, Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research and principal investigator on the published study, said: “We are excited to publish these interesting data which advance our understanding of how the brain regulates pain, and how this may differ between males and females.” The study was carried out as part of Dr Sarah Jarrin’s PhD project, jointly supervised by Dr David Finn, Dr Michelle Roche and Dr Abhay Pandit at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

University partners with Sahajanand Medical Technologies to test new device for interventional cardiology NUI Galway and leading medical device company Sahajanand Medical Technologies (SMT) have teamed up to conduct a clinical trial of a new generation of stents on patients suffering the most severe form of coronary artery disease. The Multivessel Talent trial is running at more than 50 locations in eight countries and involves 1550 patients with three-vessel coronary artery disease, which affects about one fifth of all people with heart disease. The trial is sponsored by NUI Galway and will be centrally coordinated by the University’s Corrib Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Laboratory. University Hospital Galway (UHG) is the first European site that has start enrolling patients in the trial. So far four patients have been successfully treated. The trial will run over several years and the research team will periodically assess participating patients. The principal investigator on the trial in Ireland, Professor Faisal Sharif, Professor of Translational Cardiovascular Medicine and Innovation at NUI Galway and Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at UHG, said: “As well as it being the most severe form of coronary artery disease, three vessel disease is increasingly an issue for younger people. “Coronary heart disease means that the blood supply to heart muscle is reduced or blocked due to build-up of fatty tissue, which is known as atherosclerosis. There are many risk factors for this condition but unhealthy lifestyle plays a critical role in its progression. “Coronary artery stenting has made great progress in terms of ease of use, clinical outcomes and technological advances. Three vessel coronary artery disease represents one of the most severe forms of the disease and this clinical trial is important as it will assess a new generation of coronary stents for these high-risk patients." Professor Sharif added: “The key aim of the study is to assess future treatments of coronary arteries, long-term patient survival and quality of life.” Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “The commencement of this Multivessel Talent trial, sponsored and led by NUI Galway in partnership with Sahajanand Medical Technologies, will enhance engagement with the regional, national and international medtech industry. “It highlights the central role NUI Galway plays in the medtech sector, both in Ireland and internationally, and it marks a momentous recognition of the excellence of research and development and clinical trial activities here in the University. It also aligns closely with the University’s and national strategic priorities in medtech.” The Multivessel Talent trial is a randomized, multi-centre study implementing best practice interventional cardiology to compare clinical outcomes between two CE-mark approved contemporary coronary devices - SUPRAFLEX Cruz and SYNERGY drug eluting stents. The trial will take place in 50 centres across Europe. All patients will be treated for three vessel disease. This severe form of coronary artery disease is usually seen in patients with diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, a strong family history of heart disease and smoking. Eligible patients from the west of Ireland who have not previously had by-pass surgery will be offered the opportunity to participate in the trial. The trial is co-chaired by CORRIB Research Center for Advanced Imaging and Core Laboratory Professor Patrick W Serruys, Established Professor of Interventional Medicine and Innovation at NUI Galway, and Professor William Wijns, Science Foundation Ireland Professor of Interventional Cardiology at NUI Galway, both of whom are internationally renowned experts in interventional cardiology and cardiovascular disease. Prof Yoshi Onuma, Professor of Interventional Cardiology and medical director of CORRIB Research Centre, is deputy chairman of the trial. Prof Helge Moellmann (Dortmund), Prof Manel Sabate (Barcelona) and Prof Azfar Zaman (Newcastle) will act as global Principle Investigators. Professor Serruys said: “The Multivessel Talent trial is a pan-European trial, applying best practice principles endorsed by the European Society of Cardiology. In addition to assessing the contemporary stents, the trial will also investigate novel methods to assess coronary artery stenosis severity. “SMT is a forefront manufacturer of stents in India, with an international reputation for state-of-the-art stents with ultra-thin struts. This company is partnering with NUI Galway and the CORRIB Research Centre at NUI Galway which will coordinate this study.” Professor Onuma added: “All angiographies will be centrally analysed with Quantitative Flow Reserve (QFR) using MEDIS software in the independent CORRIB Core Lab at NUI Galway that will provide the investigators with clear identification of flow-limiting narrowing. “The hope is that this trial will simplify the treatment for patients with three vessel disease undergoing coronary angioplasty, a non-surgical procedure used to treat narrowing of the coronary arteries of the heart.” NUI Galway has partnered extensively with the medical device industry in both research and development and in clinical trial activities through the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway. Ends      

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Projects created to foster innovation and collaboration between the research community and public sector Four NUI Galway researchers have received SFI Public Service Fellowship funding awards announced (22 October) by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD. The Minister announced 12 research Fellowship awards representing a total grant funding in excess of €700,000. The SFI Public Service Fellowship programme offers academic researchers a unique opportunity to be seconded to Government Departments, agencies and the Library and Research Service of the Oireachtas, to work on specific collaborative research projects. The fellowships awarded will foster innovation within the Public Sector by supporting the development and implementation of data-driven and evidence-based approaches. Minister Harris, said: “I am delighted to support the SFI Public Service Fellowship initiative which will contribute to the Government’s objective of promoting a culture of innovation through collaboration, knowledge exchange and the development of data-driven and evidence-based solutions. The successful researchers will play a pivotal role in enhancing collaboration between the research community and Government for the benefit of society.” The Fellowships will have a duration of between three and 12 months and the researchers from NUI Galway will undertake the following research projects: Dr Áine Ní Leime, Deputy Director, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, received a funding award of €88,751 and will be hosted by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth for her project, The Economic Cost of Discrimination and the Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace. Dr Ní Leime’s project will measure the cost of discrimination and assess the benefits of diversity in the workplace in order to understand both the needs and potential of a more diverse workforce in Ireland. The research will also assess how the benefits of workplace diversity can be measured and the factors that maximise those benefits both for the economy and for individual organisations. It will assess the cost to the economy of not managing workplace diversity and will help identify the barriers that prevent access to the workplace of people in specific groups - particularly people with disabilities and migrant groups. It will also identify barriers to promotion for certain groups, including migrants and certain groups of women. Dr Rónán Kennedy, School of Law, NUI Galway, received a funding award of €26,460 and will be hosted by the Oireachtas Research and Library Services for his project, Algorithms, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in the Irish Legal Services Market. Dr Kennedy’s project will examine how information technology is enabling new approaches to legal practice and the work of courts, and how Irish law should respond to the rapid innovation that is taking place. Artificial Intelligence-based tools could reduce legal costs and make it easier for individuals to get better-quality legal advice where and when they need it. However, they could also lead to smaller firms being left behind, and the use of Artificial Intelligence to assist with judicial decision-making (as already happens in other countries) could take control away from judges and strengthen existing social biases and prejudices. Dr Kosala Yapa  Mudiyanselage, Discipline of IT, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway, received a funding award of €67,288 and will be hosted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for his project, Distributed Ledger Technology - Identifying and Solving Public Service Problems Using the Blockchain. Dr Kosala’s project will explore how to use blockchain technology to improve public sector services. Blockchain is a promising technology to develop trusted and transparent applications. He investigates potential use cases and develops prototypes while discussing with relevant departments. Currently, Dr Kosala has developed a prototype to check the authenticity of courts’ judgements for the courts service in Ireland. Dr Fatemah Ahmadi Zeleti, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway, received a Fellowship award for her project, Research on measuring the benefits and impact of Ireland’s Open Data Initiative, and will be hosted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Dr Ruth Freeman, Director Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland said: “Congratulations to all of the Public Service Fellowship award recipients announced today during Public Service Innovation Week. The SFI Public Service Fellowship programme recognises the importance of connecting the Irish research community with public sector organisations to help inform new policy and improve the services that they deliver. The projects announced today will enhance collaboration of the research community with public bodies while also allowing researchers to advance their work and further develop their careers.” -Ends-