Research seminar to discuss the issue of diversity among Ireland’s teachers

Research seminar to discuss the issue of diversity among Ireland’s teachers-image

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Education experts will gather in the School of Education, NUI Galway on Friday to discuss the issue of diversity among Ireland’s teachers. While many schools now have student populations from many backgrounds and cultures, the teaching population remains predominantly female, and from the majority ethnic and upper socio-economic backgrounds. Initial findings from an NUI Galway research project on ‘Diversity in Initial Teacher Education’ (DITE) in Ireland will be presented at a seminar on Friday. The seminar, which is supported by the University’s Moore Institute, will feature two presentations. The Cultural Diversification of the Teaching Profession: How Effective is it? Professor Ninetta Santoro, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland. Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) in Ireland: A Rationale and Initial Analysis. Dr Elaine Keane, Dr Manuela Heinz, and Dr Conor Foley, School of Education, NUI Galway. Dr Elaine Keane is the recipient of an Irish Research Council Research Project Grant for the DITE project, and, along with Dr Heinz, is heading up the DITE research project in the School of Education at NUI Galway. According to Dr Keane: “While research and policy documents emphasise the necessity of diversifying the teaching population, we are lacking data adequately describing our national context in relation to diversity in initial teacher education. The gathering of comprehensive data on those applying to enter, and entering, initial teacher education is crucial in informing future directions in policy and research on teacher diversity in Ireland.” For more information visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/education/research/dite/dite.html -ends-

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Winner of the Inaugural Ryan Award for Innovation Announced

Winner of the Inaugural Ryan Award for Innovation Announced-image

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Last week saw the final challenge for the Inaugural Ryan Award for Innovation, support by the Tony Ryan Trust, as four finalists from NUI Galway presented their innovations from the Marine, Energy and Environment sector. The award, a €25,000 fund to advance the technology, will be presented to Dr Margaret Rae and her team in the University’s Ryan Institute, for their ground-breaking work on a new cancer treatment. This early stage ground breaking technology has the potential to and hopefully will save lives. The Award was established in 2013 to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and spin-outs from postgraduate research at NUI Galway in the areas of environment, marine and energy.  The annual competition, targeted at researchers and/or postgraduate students within the Ryan Institute, assesses business ideas arising from research. This award is to enable the winner to commercialise, or develop their idea through further research at home or abroad. The nature of the technologies from the four finalists included: A marine inspired cancer therapeutic presented by Dr Margaret Rae from the Ryan Institute. A multi-application improved sensing system in the monitoring of wastewater pollution presented by Peter Ó Conghaile of the School of Chemistry and Ryan Institute. A new customised, meteorological, forecasting technology with high-level accuracy opportunities presented by Enda O’Brien and Sufian Al Aswad from the Ireland High-Performance Computing Centre (ICHEC). A study involving the regenerative abilities of a marine invertebrate, with the hope of applying the knowledge to human research presented by Professor Uri Frank of REMEDI. The team of judges included Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, NUI Galway Registrar and Deputy President; Michael McNicholas from Ervia (formally Bord Gáis Eireann); Barry Egan, West Regional Director of Enterprise Ireland; and JP Prendergast of Biopharmed-West, an energy related start up. -Ends-

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Irish public places a high value on our rivers, lakes and seas

Irish public places a high value on our rivers, lakes and seas -image

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The high value placed on our rivers, lakes and seas by the Irish public has been shown in a new research report published by the EPA today. The research, which was undertaken by NUI Galway and Teagasc, illustrates the value placed by the public on our waterways and their associated features.  In the nationwide survey, respondents rated a number of water body features including the health of the aquatic ecosystems, water clarity and smell, access to recreational activities and the conditions of banks and shorelines.   The results demonstrated that respondents assigned the highest value to the aquatic feature of ‘water clarity and smell’ and the lowest values to ‘access to recreational activities’.  While over half of all respondents expressed positive willingness to pay, the research also found that 44% of respondents were unwilling to pay for improvements to Irish water bodies. The main reasons given for this were because they felt that they could not afford to pay or the government should be responsible for the costs of improvement. Dara Lynott, Deputy Director General of the EPA said, “The quality of our environment is critical to our wellbeing. This EPA funded research shows what value Irish citizens are willing to put on the environmental, health and recreational benefits associated with aquatic environments.   Dr Stephen Hynes, NUI Galway, explains, “Our research presents new information on what the benefit value is of achieving improved access and better environmental standards on Irish water bodies. Valuing the benefits derived from aquatic ecosystem services allows those managing water bodies (i.e. regional policy makers and related stakeholders) to make more informed decisions in relation to how water bodies might be sustainably developed and managed. Such estimates are also now a requirement for assessments under the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.” The key findings of the report are: The highest Marginal Willingness to Pay (MWTP) estimates were for a good status of water clarity and smell (€46.48 per respondent per year), which indicates that respondents place a high price on the aesthetic value of water bodies. The lowest MWTP estimate was for secondary access to recreational activity (€11.04 per respondent per year). ‘Cannot afford to pay’ was the main reason given by respondents who were unwilling to pay for improvements to Irish water bodies followed by ‘Government should be pay for improvements’. Findings from the survey showed that respondents’ concern for the water body attributes (health of ecosystems; water clarity and smell; access to recreational activities; condition of banks and shoreline) varied significantly according to the number of times they had visited the water bodies in the past 12 months. There is also evidence that individuals’ recreational use of rivers, lakes and seas differ substantially. The highest frequency of visits to any water body was for the purpose of walking, jogging or running along its boundary. Respondents also, on average, travelled the furthest distance to a water body in order to undertake this particular activity.  Respondents displayed mainly positive opinions on the environmental quality of Irish water bodies, but the extent of this positivity varied somewhat across water body type. The preferred payment vehicle identified by the survey was a once-off lump sum whilst the payment vehicle used in the choice experiment (an increase in personal income tax for 10 years) was only the second most popular payment type listed in the survey. ENDS

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NUI Galway Table Quiz in aid of Irish Medical Aid for Palestinians

NUI Galway Table Quiz in aid of Irish Medical Aid for Palestinians-image

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

On Wednesday, 29 October, a table quiz will be held and hosted by NUI Galway’s Centre of Adult Learning and Professional Development, in aid of the charity Irish Medical Aid for Palestinians. The quiz will take place in ‘The View’, Áras na Mac Léinn from 1-2pm. The funds raised will go directly to Caritas Gaza, which is a campaign to provide counselling support to up to 3000 Palestinian children who have lost close family members (parents and siblings) in the recent fighting.  Tables can consist of between 4-6 players and participants are invited to contribute €5.00 per person. A raffle will also be held offering a number of prizes, which have been generously sponsored by local businesses. Free teas, coffees and biscuits will be provided for all. Lisa Walshe, event organiser, Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, said: “Fundraising events like this are an opportunity for people to reach out to help the people of Gaza, to show support for a people under siege and to save lives. Irish Medical Aid for Palestinians needs the continued generosity of Irish people to continue their relief efforts on the ground in Gaza. We are delighted to assist them with their work in supporting the children of Gaza in the aftermath of the recent humanitarian crisis.” For Further information, please contact Lisa Walshe at Lisa.Walshe@nuigalway.ie or 091 495787.                                                                         -ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Athlone

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Athlone-image

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Athlone on Thursday, 6 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, BA in Journalism, BA in Science (Physics - degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical or Theoretical) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Gaeilge). Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Athlone, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Athlone is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Athlone, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Gráinne Dunne at 087 2440858 or grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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Galway joins worldwide network of Startup Weekends

Galway joins worldwide network of Startup Weekends-image

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

This November, Startup Weekend is coming to Galway. Running from 14-16 November, teams of entrepreneurs and innovators will gather together to develop their ideas from an initial 60 second pitch to a scalable company. 54 hours of activity will culminate in a round of presentations to the assembled judges, mentors, and other teams, leaving attendees with valuable feedback on their ideas, new skills, great contacts, and hopefully, a viable startup business. With 36% of Startup Weekend startups not only continuing after the weekend, but through the three month mark, taking part is a great initial step for anyone wondering what it takes to launch a startup. Startup Weekends have taken place all across the world, including in Dublin and Cork, with Galway joining in for the first time in November. NUI Galway will play host for the weekend, and with the backing of the local business community behind it, Galway Startup Weekend promises to be a great addition to the annual event calendar. The organisational team includes: Dr John Breslin, senior lecturer in NUI Galway and cofounder of Boards.ie; Michael Campion of NUI Galway’s Cairnes school of Business and Economics; Michael FitzGerald, founder and CEO of sales management software company OnePage CRM; Paul Killoran, founder and CEO of research publishing software company Exordo; and Tara Dalrymple, founder and CEO of lifestyle management and outsourcing businesses, Busy Lizzie and Mission Possible. Between them, they represent the wealth of startup knowledge that exists in the Galway business community, as well as a significant skill set ranging from finance and marketing to programming and design. Startup Weekend is all about action, giving attendees the chance to test out an idea in a creative space. People will share their skills and form teams, with mentors on hand to provide guidance throughout the weekend. The 54 hours of hard work will be interspersed with meals, short talks, and some surprises along the way. Attendees usually have either a technical or business background, resulting in a diverse range of skills and mindsets and an excellent collaborative environment. Galway Startup Weekend offers the perfect opportunity to validate an idea, learn valuable skills, or simply collaborate with similarly focused people. For regular updates, see www.facebook.com/GalStartweekend, or www.twitter.com/GalStartWeekend. As well as encouraging people to attend and take part, the organisers are currently seeking volunteers to help both at the event and in the run up to it. Anyone interested in lending a hand (particularly photographers or video bloggers) should send an email to galway@startupweekend.org -Ends-

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ESB Networks NUI Galway SmartGrid Innovation Award

ESB Networks NUI Galway SmartGrid Innovation Award-image

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

ESB Networks is delighted to sponsor the NUI Galway College of Engineering & Informatics SmartGrid Innovation Award for the best group proposal from final year Energy Systems Engineering students. The students,  Kieran O’ Leary, Barry O’ Donnell, Mark Kelly and Tadgh Cullen developed an innovative, technically advanced and professional project that has the potential to contribute significantly to the rollout of SmartGrid. ESB Networks congratulates the winners on their achievement and also the other students groups who also presented some excellent ideas. John Byrne, Smart Networks Manager, ESB Networks said: “Collaboration on Smart Grid R&D is essential in this period of fundamental change within the energy sector. ESB Networks is working towards 2027 by undertaking strategic research, development and demonstration projects to meet the rapidly changing system and customer needs. We have committed to collaborating with both academia and industry to progress research and deployment innovation in Smart Grid technologies.  In this regard, we welcome the opportunity to work with NUI Galway and will continue to build upon this mutually beneficial relationship.” NUI Galway’s Dr Hugh Melvin, SmartGrid Module facilitator, said: “ESB and ESB Networks are recognised as world class and pioneering engineering organisations and are leading the way internationally in Smart Grid R&D and implementation. They both value strong associations with Academia, including NUI Galway and this award represents a strengthening of that association.” -Ends-

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World-leading experts from the field of stem cell science to convene at NUI Galway

World-leading experts from the field of stem cell science to convene at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

World-leading experts from the field of stem cell science will convene at NUI Galway on 29-30 October 2014. The Galway International Stem Cell Conference will focus on the latest developments in basic science and translational aspects of Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) research in Ireland, the UK and worldwide. A type of adult stem cell, Mesenchymal Stem Cells or MSCs, have shown huge potential for use in many medical therapies. In addition to plenary talks from internationally renowned speakers, the program is structured to include oral paper presentations selected from submitted abstracts. With Ireland hosting the event this year, there will be a particular focus on some of the ground breaking research taking place here. The latest plans from researchers at NUI Galway for stem cell trials in Galway, focusing on arterial disease in the lower leg and osteoarthritis in the knee will be discussed. According to Professor Frank Barry, Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway: “The impact of this conference will be high because it focuses on those aspects of basic science and clinical evaluation which represent obstacles to translation. New biological insights have emerged recently about stem cells and their clinical potential has been demonstrated. However, there are still substantial gaps in knowledge in the field, such as how we can standardise the mass production of stem cells in facilities around the world.” As of 2014, Ireland now boasts its own specialist facility which can ‘grow’ stems cells for use in such clinical trials in humans. Located at NUI Galway, the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) is a custom-built facility certified to the highest EU manufacturing standards and criteria. The CCMI at NUI Galway is the first ever facility on the island of Ireland to receive a licence from the Irish Medicines Board, and firmly positions the country as a global player in the regenerative medicine field. Alongside Professor Frank Barry, other key speakers include: Javier Garcia-Sancho, Institute for Molecular Biology & Genetics (IBGM), University of Valladolid & Spanish Research Council, Valladolid, Spain; Silviu Itescu, Mesoblast, Melbourne, Australia; Sue Kimber, Tissue Regeneration and Stem Cell Network, University of Manchester; Ian McNiece, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA; Mark Pittenger, University of Maryland, USA; and Darwin Prockop, Director, Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Texas A&M, USA. ENDS

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NUI Galway Appoints Antarctic Explorer as Beaufort Visiting Professor of Marine Biodiscovery

NUI Galway Appoints Antarctic Explorer as Beaufort Visiting Professor of Marine Biodiscovery-image

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Antarctic explorer, Professor Bill Baker of the University of South Florida, has been appointed as Visiting Professor of Marine Biodiscovery at NUI Galway through funding from the Beaufort Research Awards for one year. Marine Biodiscovery forms an integral part of the strategic programme for the marine sector – SeaChange, which is coordinated by the Marine Institute. The funding of the Professorship of Marine Biodiscovery at NUI Galway by the Beaufort Marine Research Awards is a critical component of the strategy to develop overall Irish research capacity and to position Ireland’s marine sector within a global knowledge-based economy. The Beaufort awards have been used to support research of international standing by making funding available for Principal Investigators and a number of researchers.  Professor Baker has established his international reputation in Marine Biodiscovery by searching for chemicals in the Antarctic. This programme at the Antarctic has been funded by the National Science Foundation in the USA for the last 24 years and now Professor Baker will turn his attention to the Irish shores in terms of searching for molecular treasures. The chemical compound Palmerolide A, one of the treasures discovered originally in the Antarctic by Professor Baker, is extremely promising against skin cancer and exploration of the Irish waters could potentially lead to a compound with similar potential. Professor Baker will provide expertise in the area of marine natural products chemistry in searching for molecular treasures from the Irish waters. The isolation and identification of novel secondary metabolites from marine organisms (Bacteria, Archaea and Eukaryotes) in Irish marine environments is still underexplored and provides an opportunity to identify bioactive agents of interest in the context of drug discovery, functional foods and other biotechnological applications. In a European and world-wide context, Ireland’s marine biodiversity is exceptionally high for its size: for example, 7.5% of the world’s marine benthic algae are found in Irish waters.  Professor Baker will conduct Chemistry, Bioassays and Biofermentation activities during his period in Ireland.  It is hoped that discoveries made during the Professorship in Ireland will lead to a better understanding of the chemistry of marine species and hopefully produce pharmaceuticals that fight killer diseases. Professor Baker will also deliver a public lecture at NUI Galway entitled ‘Treasures from the Antarctic Ice’ on Monday, 10 November at 7.15pm in the Kirwan Theatre, Arts/Science Building. During the lecture Professor Baker will describe the challenges of carrying out research in Antarctica but show the potential rewards of this research. This will be linked to his efforts in searching the Irish waters for novel chemical agents could potentially lead to new molecules to treat killer diseases. To register for the lecture visit http://billbakeratnuig.rsvpify.com. -Ends-

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Applications now open for NUI Galway PhD Scholarships

Applications now open for NUI Galway PhD Scholarships -image

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Scholarships available in five key research areas Applications are being accepted immediately for fully-funded PhD scholarships at NUI Galway. The Hardiman and Dr Tony Ryan Research Scholarships will support students to undertake four year Structured PhD programmes, by providing a stipend of €16,000 per annum and fees. The deadline for applications is 21 November, 2014. The scholarships are focused on five key areas of research in which NUI Galway offers world-leading expertise: Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy Biomedical Science and Engineering Environment, Marine and Energy Humanities in Context, including Digital Humanities Informatics, Data Analytics, Physical and Computational Sciences An additional Cancer Care West Hardiman Research Scholarship will also be offered, supported by Cancer Care West. This scholarship will support research in Radiation Oncology or Surgical Oncology at NUI Galway and the associated University Hospital Galway. All the research scholarships are also supported by the Galway University Foundation. NUI Galway Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr Lucy Byrnes said: “These scholarships aim to attract the best students to NUI Galway and to support their development as innovative individuals who will contribute to economic, cultural and social development. They offer opportunities to pursue doctoral studies focused on areas of research in which the University offers leading expertise.” Applications forms and further information are available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/hardiman-scholarships/ with closing date for applications at 5pm on 21 November, 2014. -Ends-

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