Thursday, 7 July 2022

President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh has been announced as the new President of Universities Ireland Council. Universities Ireland was founded in 2003 by the nine university presidents on the island of Ireland to promote and develop cooperation between their institutions on a cross-border basis. The council brings together, at the highest level, the academic and administrative leaders of all the universities in Ireland, identifying the need for an all-island structure through which they can cooperate on issues of higher education policy and act together to influence change such as supporting peace and reconciliation.   Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Co-operation is central to the future of universities and their continued potential to make a difference to society and our economy, for the public good. Creating communities of scholars and students contributes to a greater understanding of each other’s challenges and a greater impetus to grasp together the opportunities that face us all. As we navigate a set of relationships in transition, we recognise that the issues we face are increasingly complex, cross-disciplinary and inter-generational.  “Research and teaching – universities on the island of Ireland – have a particular role to play in helping us to navigate social and economic change. These are better addressed together than apart. We are a small island on the edge of Europe but at the centre of things, between continents. Valuing each other’s traditions, we look forward to working together - thegither – le chéile – with all our stakeholders, North and South, East and West, in further strengthening the ties that bind us and the future that we shape and share together.” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh’s appointment was confirmed at a meeting of the Universities Ireland Council in the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin yesterday. He takes on the role at a crucial time for the populations in both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland, with continued challenges and opportunities which have shared solutions on the island of Ireland in areas such as health, housing and the environment.  Universities Ireland will act as a catalyst for all-island collaboration between universities to accelerate the recovery, and to strengthen positive North-South relations and East-West relations at a time of transition politically and economically. As a network, it provides a unique structure within which the universities can liaise at the highest level and through which there can be North-South cooperation that adds value to the education systems on both sides of the border. Through Universities Ireland the institutions cooperate on a wide range of issues related to higher education policy as well as to act jointly.  Ends

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Galway International Arts Festival and its Education Partner NUI Galway are delighted to announce that they have been shortlisted in the Best Long-Term Partnership category of the Business to Arts Awards 2022.  The shortlisting, which was announced this morning, acknowledges the long-standing partnership between the two bodies, which sees the parties collaborate across education, culture and vision.  The partners have collaborated on the creation and delivery of postgraduate courses in Creative Arts Management and the SELECTED internship programme, which educate the next generation of arts professionals.  The partnership also covers GIAF’s very successful volunteer programme, which, with a recruitment of 1,000 volunteers in a ‘normal’ year, is integral to the delivery of the festival.  In terms of culture, GIAF has assisted NUI Galway in establishing itself as a Cultural Campus, with an increasing number of productions presented on campus and NUI Galway associated with award-winning productions, bringing an average of 80,000 visitors to campus each year.  GIAF and NUI Galway collaborate by playing a central role in re-imagining Galway, defining the landscape in which NUI Galway graduates operate by supporting new career pathways, and pursuing a creative industries development strategy. GIAF and NUI Galway also activate the partnership via an archive agreement, whereby the college holds GIAF’s archives. The partners are also collaborating to create oral histories of the festival, kicking off earlier this year with a podcast on the making and staging of GIAF’s major artwork Mirror Pavilion during the global Covid pandemic. Commenting on the announcement, GIAF CEO John Crumlish said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for the award and have the partnership recognised in this way. The relationship with NUI Galway is a very valuable one, which has grown significantly in recent years. It plays a role in the development of the next generation of artists and arts producers while also facilitating the development of a best practice volunteer programme. It provides a very valuable resource for GIAF and also helps inform our thinking as to what a festival can be.” NUI Galway Vice-Dean for Engagement, Patrick Lonergan said: “At a time when NUI Galway is focussing on the links between the arts, business, and our communities, our relationship with Galway International Arts Festival is ever more important. Being shortlisted for a Business to Arts award is a huge honour - and a huge boost to our joint efforts to transform the cultural landscape of Galway, the west of Ireland, and the nation.” Galway International Arts Festival 2022 kicks off next Monday, 11th July. Back to full size, the festival will take over the city once more with a huge programme of events spread across various locations and venues until 24 July. 16% of the shows will take place on the college campus.  Ends

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Users can see funding and services provided by the 31 local authorities Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway have launched the 2022 edition of the local authority finances website. Compiled by economics lecturers Dr Gerard Turley and Stephen McNena, the 2022 local authority budgeted income and expenditure data are available on the online platform Aimed at improving the transparency and accountability of local authorities, users of the interactive website can discover the different sources of local council funding, from commercial rates, residential property tax, charges and fees, and central government grants. Users can also see the services provided by the 31 local authorities, including, for example, spending on social housing, local and regional roads, fire and library services, and public parks and amenities. Users can view the income and spending of their own local council, or they can compare to other local councils. Dr Gerard Turley notes: “Local authorities plan to spend over €6 billion in 2022. To date, this is the largest day-to-day spending by the local government sector in Ireland. During the years of the Covid-19 pandemic, higher levels of council spending have been supported by central government grants, in the form of increased specific-purpose transfers but also compensation payments for loss of income from rates and charges adversely affected by government restrictions. The website allows citizens to see how this six billion euro of taxpayers’ money is spent locally. “A goal of any university is to contribute to place and to wider society. As NUI Galway’s mission is for the public good, this project is aimed at promoting more informed public policy choices and decisions, by making local authority budgets easier for voters and citizens to access and understand.” On using the interactive web application, Stephen McNena advises: “Users should click on the council spending or council income weblinks and then choose a local authority to find out where your money is spent, and where it comes from. The data are presented in a user-friendly way, and expressed in euros, euros per person or as a share of the local authority budget. Everything from spending on planning and local development to the operation of leisure facilities is listed, and on the income side, revenue from the Local Property Tax (LPT) to fees and charges for local services.” At the aggregated level, some of the highlights from the 2022 data are as follows: -          Dublin City Council’s revenue budget exceeds €1.1 billion; -          The smallest budget is €44 million, for Leitrim County Council; -          Expenditure per person varies from €794 for Kildare County Council to €2,038 for Dublin City Council; -          Spending on housing and roads are the two largest local service divisions, with housing supports the single biggest expenditure item; -          Central government grants constitute the largest share of local government funding, at 40 per cent and rising, with the smallest share from the LPT at less than 7 per cent and falling. To find out more about your local authority’s budget for 2022, visit For further information contact the authors at or Ends

Monday, 4 July 2022

University to develop roadmap to create safe, legal routes for displaced people to study in Ireland NUI Galway has joined forces with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, on a pioneering initiative to create opportunities for refugee students to come to Ireland to study. The University is taking part in the EU-PASSWORLD project, with a specific focus on developing a roadmap to create new, safe and legal routes for displaced people to secure education scholarships in Ireland.  The aim is for NUI Galway to offer the first higher education scholarship to a refugee by the end of the year. UNHCR and NUI Galway aim to create a roadmap for other higher education institutions in the country to follow as the project expands. Only 5 percent of refugees have access to higher education worldwide, according to UNHCR, which has an enrolment target of 15 percent of young refugee women and men in higher and further education by 2030.  President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We have a responsibility to provide access and formal education pathways to support a refugee’s educational ambitions and skills development. The EU-PASSWORLD project provides a platform for educators, employers and the community to work together towards a sustainable solution.” The EU-PASSWORLD project runs from 2022-2024 and is funded by the EU’s Asylum, Migration & Integration Fund (AMIF). National coordination of the project is being led by UNHCR Ireland and Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre. It builds on other successful programmes from Italy, Germany and Canada, which have seen thousands of refugees arrive to work and study.  UNHCR will support third level institutions to establish dedicated application procedures in certain refugee hosting countries. When refugees arrive in Ireland through the project, they will receive wrap-around integration support from members of their community, through a national programme called community sponsorship. This form of integration has been noted for improving outcomes for refugees, enriching and strengthening host communities, in addition to improving narratives towards refugees and migration. Professor Ó hÓgartaigh added: “Our partnership with the EU-PASSWORLD project seeks to provide such educational opportunities through our University of Sanctuary commitments, which in turn will enrich our student experience through diversity and internationalisation. The EU-PASSWORLD project reflects our values of respect, openness, inclusivity and sustainability through increased social responsibility and a commitment to humanitarianism while creating a more welcoming society. “In collaboration with our industry partners, this initiative also aligns with our commitments to broaden access through the provision of Medtronic funded University of Sanctuary scholarships and Merit Medical’s support of the Youth Academy programme which offers 25% of places on a scholarship basis to participants from DEIS schools.” Enda O’Neill, Head of UNHCR Ireland said: “NUI Galway is leading the way by pioneering this innovative refugee scholarship programme. Access to education is a fundamental human right and by establishing this first scholarship, NUI Galway truly demonstrates its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.  “We hope this will inspire other universities to do the same. We can all help to broaden the response to refugee situations, while also benefitting from the richness that refugee students bring to university life.” NUI Galway’s involvement in the EU PASSWORLD project is led by Associate Professor Mary Dempsey, Vice Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Science and Engineering and Dr Andrew Flaus, Vice Dean for International in the College of Science and Engineering. It is supported by Aidan Harte, co-ordinator of the University of Sanctuary initiative at NUI Galway.  It follows the signing of the Manifesto on Expanding Refugee Tertiary Education Pathways in Europe by Professor Ó hÓgartaigh in May of this year. This manifesto underpins NUI Galway’s commitment to work towards common advocacy, strategies, and the design of operational frameworks to further expand and create tertiary education pathways for refugees in Europe. Ends

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

NUI Galway’s longstanding education partnership with Galway International Arts Festival has led to a three-year Government funding package for a new programme focusing on creative arts management.  The investment through the Springboard+ initiative comes as the University and the Festival mark 11 years of the partnership.  Delivered in collaboration with Galway International Arts Festival, Druid Theatre and other creative arts partners, the Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Arts Management will provide skills in design, production, curation, business and management, while also offering an accredited work placement with a creative arts business.  Professor Patrick Lonergan, NUI Galway Vice-Dean for Engagement in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, said: “The new Springboard+ postgraduate certificate in Creative Arts Management will give participants the skills needed to play a leading role in the development of the creative industries.  “With the support and advice of our partners in Galway International Arts Festival, we’ll provide exciting modules that cover creativity, design thinking, producing and curation, and other essential skills. With a work placement and the option to study online or in person, this innovative new course is sure to prove popular.  “Huge credit for this support from Government is due to our University partnership with Galway International Arts Festival and the way in which it has grown and developed over the years.” As part of the programme, students will gain hands-on skills in practice-based modules delivered on-campus, with blended options available for those living away from Galway. It includes a strong focus on targeted career development, with students taking up an internship with an arts organisation and taking part in supervised work experience projects. John Crumlish, Chief Executive of Galway International Arts Festival, said: "We are delighted that the postgraduate Certificate in Creative Arts Management will be a beneficiary of the Springboard investment announcement by Minister Harris. “This is a very exciting development, as it opens up a new avenue for people who wish to develop a career in the creative industries while also adding significantly to the existing human capital in this area." Springboard+ courses are at Level 6 (Certificate) to Level 9 (Masters) on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), and are delivered by public and private higher education providers around the country. Now entering its twelfth year, over 90,000 people have benefitted from the programme to date. The Springboard+ programme is managed by the Higher Education Authority, on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.  Along with the Certificate in Creative Arts Management, NUI Galway has a number of programmes available under Springboard+ 2022, including: Specialist Diploma in Automation and Control Specialist Diploma in Corporate Environmental Planning Specialist Diploma in Medical Device Science Diploma in Software Engineering MA in Digital Art, Design, and Cultures Certificate in Medical Technology Regulatory Affairs and Operations MSc AgInnovation Postgraduate Diploma in Cloud Computing and Software Development Postgraduate Diploma in Cybersecurity and Software Development Ends

Monday, 8 August 2022

New research involving patients in intensive care has highlighted that propofol, an anaesthetic drug commonly used to facilitate invasive mechanical ventilation, increases cardiovascular complications risk in the critically ill.  This collaborative international study, led by Professor John Laffey at NUI Galway and researchers at the University of Milan-Bicocca, sought to understand the impact of airway management in critically ill patients.  Dr John Laffey, Professor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at the University’s School of Medicine and Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Galway University Hospitals, has led an international research team investigating the causes and impact of peri-intubation cardiovascular instability in almost 3,000 critically ill patients. This research is part of the International Observational Study to Understand the Impact and Best Practices of Airway Management in Critically Ill Patients (INTUBE) which is investigating global practice in performing tracheal intubation in patients from 29 countries.  The paper was published in the American Journal of Respiratory Care Medicine. As part of this research, the investigators identified important modifiable, previously poorly understood risk factors that increase the risk of critically ill patients developing shock and cardiovascular instability when undergoing urgent tracheal intubation to permit invasive mechanical ventilation, commonly referred to as ‘life support’.   The identification of variables that can be modified through changes in clinical practice was explored as part of this study and evidence suggests that one commonly used anaesthetic agent has a major role in the incidence of cardiac arrest and hypertension after intubation.  Professor Laffey explains: “Airway management is universal but prior to the INTUBE study data on the management of intubated patients has been scarce. Identifying risks is the first step in developing safer management approaches.  “Tracheal intubation is one of the most high-risk and frequently performed procedures in patients who are critically ill. Cardiovascular adverse events like low blood pressure and even cardiac arrest can be frequent after intubation. Different factors play a role in the increased risk in patients who are critically ill compared with patients undergoing the procedure for elective surgical procedures.  “To date, the research agenda on interventions to reduce risk in these patients in critical care has mainly focused on oxygenation optimisation and on methods to achieve intubation at the first attempt. “In our recent research as part of the INTUBE study we have identified that the commonly used anaesthetic drug – propofol – is strongly associated with an increase in the incidence of cardiac arrest and severe hypotension after intubation. This is an important discovery, and the first time that this has been investigated in a truly global patient cohort such as the INTUBE study. “As a result of this study it is our intention to conduct further clinical trials to develop and test alternative strategies to reduce the risk and severity or cardiovascular adverse events in critically ill patients requiring urgent tracheal intubation. In the meantime, our data strongly suggests that propofol use should be restricted in this patient group and even avoided where possible.  “Training in the use of this specialised drug is key. The drug suppresses reflexes which makes it particularly good for intubation, but equally it appears to be be this suppression that is causing risks for patients.”  Ends

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

NUI Galway and Queen’s University Belfast collaborate under Shared Island fund to tackle issue of hospital acquired infections Researchers at NUI Galway and Queen’s University Belfast are investigating how attaching sugar molecules to plastics could give medical devices a new layer of protection from infection. The SUGARCOAT project is among 62 research collaborations supported by the Government’s Shared Island fund.  Early-career researchers Dr Joseph Byrne, NUI Galway, and Dr Matthew Wylie, Queen’s University Belfast, are working together to tackle the issue of hospital acquired infections associated with devices by taking preventative science to a new level.  The team is attempting to harness the science behind the interaction of sugar molecules with bacterial proteins to make fluorescent materials which glow at first, darkening when they become compromised by bacteria. The technology would be attached to plastics which coat medical devices - such as urinary catheters or endotracheal tubes - allowing clinicians to spot potential infection at an early opportunity and react faster.  Dr Byrne, Honorary Research Lecturer in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, NUI Galway, explained the concept: “Prevention of bacterial infections is key to fighting the challenge of antimicrobial resistance and if this isn't possible, then early detection through innovative sensing materials could act as an alarm, allowing devices to be removed and replaced before infection becomes a more serious risk to patient health.” Dr Wylie, Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Materials Science in Queens University Belfast, said: “Like many humans, sugar is something bacteria can’t resist getting a taste of. Many types of bacteria contain special proteins, which allow them to seek out and attach to sugar molecules, which they can use to grow and cause infection within the human body. Our new sugar-decorated coatings will exploit this interaction as an early warning, which has the potential to lead to the development of a new generation of medical devices, giving doctors and nurses tools to reduce risks of infection, bring down healthcare costs and decrease the need for antibiotic use in hospitals.” The project is being supported with €193,000 from the Government’s Shared Island initiative. The research team is supported by senior colleagues Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, and Professor Colin McCoy, Head of School of Pharmacy in Queen’s University Belfast.  Medical device-associated infections account for up to half of healthcare-associated infections and people who are immunocompromised people and those with cystic fibrosis (CF) are particularly at risk, with the island of Ireland having one of the highest number of people with CF per capita. These infections are a major health concern to patients and incur significant expense to healthcare systems, requiring longer stays and increased antibiotic usage. The rise of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria is an urgent problem, decreasing the effectiveness of existing antibiotics. It is estimated that across EU/EEA countries, 33,000 deaths per year in EU/EEA countries are associated with antimicrobial resistance, costing more than €1 billion to health services.  This project hopes to minimise the impact of this challenge by producing innovative coatings, which will prevent or detect bacterial build-up on widely-used medical devices before they lead to infection in a patient.  Dr Byrne, a CÚRAM collaborator, added: “Hospital-acquired bacterial infections are a major issue across the entire island of Ireland, and I’m excited to forge a new and lasting relationship with counterparts in Belfast to deliver meaningful new tools in fighting this challenge. “The research allows me to combine my chemistry research with more patient-facing researchers and healthcare stakeholders to increase our societal impact. Building all-island collaborations through this scheme will help us to unlock Ireland’s potential for innovation and cutting-edge science.” Dr Wylie added: “We are delighted to be able to pursue this innovative research under the Shared Island fund. Not only is it support for two early-career researchers, but it will open up opportunities for collaboration with industry and clinicians in both the North and South of Ireland, particularly as Galway is a global hub for major medical device companies and Queen’s has vast experience of collaborating with medical device companies across the UK and Ireland.” Ends

Friday, 29 January 2021

Third level partnership on research brings people's voices to the table NUI Galway is to lead a new network of universities to champion public and patient involvement in health and social care research. The Health Research Board, in conjunction with the Irish Research Council, announced the development of the new Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Ignite Network across seven universities and 10 partner organisations, some of which represent patients. With NUI Galway as lead, the network is being established to put the public and the patient at the centre of health and social care research. It aims to ensure that the next generation of graduates is familiar with Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) and know how to incorporate it into their research. In the partnership, patients and members of the public will have the opportunity to work with research teams to decide what issues are important to focus on and how best to carry out research. A key goal will be to ensure that the voices of marginalised and disadvantaged groups are heard. The new network is being headed up by Professor Sean Dinneen, of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, and Edel Murphy, who is based in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society in the University. “The National PPI Network is a great opportunity for Irish universities to work together to re-imagine what health and social care research is all about and to involve our local communities as genuine partners in the research effort,” Professor Dinneen said. “Rather than adding a tokenistic patient voice to our research we have to take time to form, nurture and engage with a diverse group of individuals from our local community who can provide an authentic public and patient perspective on our research.” The network is building on an initial PPI Ignite Programme, which began in NUI Galway and other universities in 2017 and started the process of changing research culture. A national public advisory panel will be set up in the early phase of its work. The network will also explore innovative ways of involving patients and the public in research, identify best practice and look to measure the impact of PPI. An online hub is to be set up with the aim of connecting patients and members of the public who are interested in being involved with research communities who are seeking PPI partners.  An annual PPI Festival will be held along with outreach events to share resources, knowledge and experience. The network will also deliver training in PPI to researchers, the public, patients, community organisations, policy-makers and research funders. Deirdre Mac Loughlin, a member of the public advisory panel on NUI Galway’s initial PPI Ignite programme, said: “We are on a journey to bring Public and Patient Involvement in health research from concept to reality. These partnerships allow us to bring our lived experience to the research question and often bring a different dimension and perspective to the table. All of this helps to improve the relevance of the research. "Over the next few years we will help to drive PPI as an integral part of the research culture and broaden the number and diversity of active PPI contributors. Through genuine ‘PPI in Action’ the relevance of health research can be optimised and its benefits and trustworthiness be reinforced and promoted.” As part of the new initiative to develop the PPI Network, Dr Ruth McMenamin and Professor Martin O’Halloran have been appointed as co-leads of the NUI Galway PPI Ignite programme. The University will also strengthen ties with local partners such as Croí and the Saolta Hospital Group as well as working with international experts including Professor Derek Stewart (recently appointed Honorary Professor at NUI Galway) and Professor Carolyn Jenkins from the Medical University of South Carolina. Members of the public and patients with an interest in finding out more about Public and Patient Involvement can contact Ends

Thursday, 28 January 2021

⦁ Testing of next generation blades for tidal and river-current turbines stretch from Alaska to Scotland  ⦁ Fatigue and static testing of tidal blade model designs completed for the largest tidal turbine in the world Over the past 12 months, a research team in the SFI MaREI Centre at NUI Galway have made a significant contribution to technology development in the marine energy sector, by delivering three full-scale structural testing programmes to de-risk blade components to allow for commercial and operational trials in Alaska and Scotland. The research team worked with industry partners Suzlon Energy (wind energy developer), Ocean Renewable Power Company (tidal energy developer), Orbital Marine Power (tidal energy developer) and ÉireComposites (wind/tidal OEM). Tomás Flanagan, CEO of Éirecomposites, said: “Our research collaborations with the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway has resulted in moving our blade technology from technology readiness level (TRL) 6 to 9 and the company has attracted commercial contracts for manufacturing tidal turbine blades, and securing these jobs over the long term. “For example, at the start of 2020, we worked on a testing programme with Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) and NUI Galway to de-risk the turbine blade components for the ORPC RivGen® Turbine that we were manufacturing in our facilities in Galway. Due to the successful completion of the structural testing of the turbine in NUI Galway, RivGen® has since been installed in Igiugig, Alaska, where it provides clean, predictable electricity for a remote community, which previously relied solely on energy generation from diesel generators.” Testing to prove tidal blade's twenty-year design life is a world first In 2020, ÉireComposites also built the world’s strongest tidal blade, which has been tested in the large structures testing laboratory in the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway. Through the SEAI funded SEABLADE and Horizon 2020 Marinet2 testing programmes in NUI Galway, a static load of 1,004kN (over 100 tonnes or equivalent to 10 double decker buses) was applied to a tidal turbine blade – the highest load to be reported ever in the world. Following this, the blade was subjected to fatigue testing to prove the blade’s twenty year design life, which is a hugely important step forward in the certification of tidal turbine blades required for full commercialisation. This achievement has had a major impact on the tidal energy sector, while demonstrating the advanced capabilities of the project partners. To date, the testing has validated the models used to design the blade and the manufacturing process, paving the way for Orbital Marine Power’s O2-2000 device to be deployed in 2021, where it will become the largest tidal turbine in the world. According to Finlay Wallace, Blades Manager at Orbital Marine Power: “Collaborating with the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway and ÉireComposites to develop composite tidal turbine blade technology as part of the EU Horizon 2020 Flotec project opened up opportunities to prove the static and fatigue strength of a full sized composite tidal turbine blade structure through the Marinet2 and Ocean Era Net programmes. “We took on a close collaborative approach, working with the project partners during planning and execution of the test program. We were thrilled to successfully demonstrate the blade static and fatigue strength, validating our design approach for composite blades. This represents a critical step in de-risking the path for larger more powerful turbine blades with lower cost of energy.” Development of a component for preventing leading-edge erosion on offshore wind turbine blades In 2020, the MaREI team in the Ryan Institute and School of Engineering at NUI Galway also completed the EASME-funded €1.5 million LEAPWind Project, which was in response to Suzlon Energy’s need to develop a component for preventing leading-edge erosion on offshore wind turbine blades. New components developed at ÉireComposites are now undertaking full-scale operational trials on wind turbines in Scotland, which may result in the new component being used on all future Suzlon blades, where they currently have an installed capacity of over 18,800MW worldwide. That installed capacity is, on average, enough to supply the electrical needs of over 8 million households. Structural testing of components for preventing leading-edge erosion on wind turbine blades was completed at NUI Galway, including static and fatigue testing of representative sections of full-scale blades. According to Sandro Di Noi, Innovation and Strategic Research Manager at Suzlon Energy Blades Technology B.V.: “The cooperation and the results achieved within the innovative LEAPWind project increased the SE Blades Technology (knowledge about wind blades leading edge protection technology in an off-shore environment. “The successful static and fatigue testing of the leading edge protection component (known as LEP) on a representative full-scale blade performed at NUI-Galway delivered a professional and “ready to use” report. The results allows us to move forward with the thermoplastic LEP solution developed by ÉireComposites.” Local social impact in the West of Ireland Tomás Flanagan, CEO of Éirecomposites adds: “The collaboration with the team based in the SFI MaREI Centre at NUI Galway has helped secure ÉireComposites’ long term viability and safeguard jobs in the Connemara Gaeltacht. This is as a result of a long number of years of working closely in partnership with researchers and academics in NUI Galway to foster an innovative ecosystem for lightweight high-performance large-scale fibre-reinforced composite structures across a range of applications, including aviation, space, marine and renewable energy – wind, tidal and river-current.” Professor Jamie Goggins, Principal Investigator in the SFI MaREI Centre and Director of Research and Innovation in the School of Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “Despite the restrictions in place due to COVID-19 in 2020, together with our project partners we have made significant contributions to the marine energy industry, in particular through our collaborations with ÉireComposites, ORPC, Orbital Marine Power and Suzlon Energy. “Having already secured new collaborative research projects to develop and test the next generation blades for tidal and river-current turbines we’re hopeful for another successful year in 2021. We are very grateful for the support of Science Foundation Ireland, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the European Commission through the H2020 and EASME-funded programmes. This has helped secure the reputation of the MaREI Centre as a world leader in design, modelling and testing of tidal turbine blades and blade components.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

NUI Galway becomes first third-level institution to commit to “campus-wide” promotion of leadership skills in partnership with LIFT Ireland  LIFT Ireland and NUI Galway have today (27.01.21) announced the first partnership in Ireland’s third-level sector aimed at improving leadership skills amongst students and staff. LIFT Ireland is an initiative to raise the level of leadership nationwide, working with organisations and individuals in a variety of settings to develop key leadership attributes. Current partners include ESB, Munster Rugby, Bank of Ireland, RSA Insurance, Vodafone, Dublin Airport, and over 100 secondary schools nationwide. LIFT’s partnership with NUI Galway is the organisation’s first formal partnership with a third-level institution. It will see more than 200 staff and students trained as LIFT facilitators by April. These facilitators will then go on to deliver the LIFT leadership programme to a further 1,500 staff and students at NUI Galway throughout 2021. As part of a pilot run in late 2020, LIFT has already trained 70 NUI Galway students and staff as facilitators.  The LIFT Model LIFT’s leadership programme is delivered through regular roundtable sessions, led by a volunteer facilitator. Each session focuses on one of eight key leadership values, such as honesty, competence, accountability, empathy, respect and positive attitude. The programme supports participants to develop these leadership attributes on an ongoing basis.  Commenting on the partnership with NUI Galway, Joanne Hession, founder and CEO of LIFT Ireland, said: “We work with students and staff across all levels of education, including in schools and further education settings. By working with education institutions, LIFT is aiming to instil strong leadership values in people from a young age, in the hope that they will take these values and practices with them as they move through life and through their careers. “We are delighted to be partnering with NUI Galway, a pioneer in its sector and the first of what we hope will be many third-level institutions to roll out LIFT across campus.” Also welcoming the partnership, the President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hOgartaigh, said: “We are delighted to be the first university to be part of the LIFT programme in Ireland. Many organisations have already benefitted from the programme and, as a learning organisation, I’m particularly pleased that we’re the first university to be involved. “Leading Ireland’s future together is particularly important for NUI Galway and the LIFT programme does it in a way which is very much in tune with our values as a university.” To view a video of NUI Galway students speaking about their participation in the LIFT pilot partnership in late 2020, go to:"t-thrid-level-lift-partner/. -Ends-

Monday, 25 January 2021

Iriseoirí an lae amárach - cúrsa seachtaine in iriseoireacht do scoláirí Idirbhliana a reachtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh Beidh deis ag scoláirí Idirbhliana tabhairt faoi chúrsa nua iriseoireachta ar líne á mhúineadh ag cuid de phlúr na n-iriseoirí teilifíse, raidió agus digití. Reachtálfaidh OÉ Gaillimh agus Nuacht RTÉ agus TG4 an cúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach le comhairle ón gComhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) agus ón Roinn Oideachais. Tá an cúrsa dírithe ar scoláirí in Iar-bhunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus Lán-Ghaeilge ar fud na tíre agus beidh sé ar siúl ar an ardán Zoom idir 1-4 Márta 2021. Cuirfidh foireann ó chúrsaí meán agus cumarsáide OÉ Gaillimh agus iriseoirí RTÉ a chraolann ar TG4, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus a sholáthraíonn ábhar d’árdáin digiteacha an cúrsa i láthair ar líne.  Roinnfidh an t-iriseoir físe agus fear déanta scannán, Seán Mac an tSíthigh a chuid scileanna agus a chuid taithí de bheith ag soláthar scéalta físe d’ardchaighdeán do TG4 agus RTÉ.  Tabharfaidh Gormfhlaith Ní Thuairisg cuntas ar na ceisteanna crua a chuireann sí ar dhaoine gach lá ar Adhmhaidin ar RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.  Glacfaidh na láithreoirí nuachta Eimear Ní Chonaola agus Siún Nic Gearailt páirt sna ranganna ag tabhairt léargais ar an saol laethúil sna meáin.  Clúdóidh Siún Ní Dhuinn ó RTÉ Digiteach/ na dúshláin a bhaineann le scéalta a sholáthar d’ardáin ar líne. Tabharfaidh an cúrsa léargas freisin ar ghairmeacha sna meáin agus ar scéalta spóirt a chlúdach do phobal na hÉireann, dream a bhfuil spéis mhór acu ina leithéid. Dúirt an tOllamh Brenadán Mac Suibhne, Stiúrthóir Léinn, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá gnóthaí nuachta – gnóthaí bréag-nuachta, san áireamh – ina n-ábhar conspóide le cúpla bliain anuas, agus aird níos mó anois ag daoine ar fud an domhain ar thábhacht na hiriseoireachta i sochaí dhaonlathach ar bith.  Cosán atá sa chúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach ón scoil go dtí an ollscoil.  Deis atá ann léargas ar leith a fháil ar shaol na hiriseoireachta go bhfeice scoláirí Idirbhliana an bhfuil siad ag iarraidh oibriú sa réimse sin nó nach bhfuil.  Agus is deis fosta atá ann eolas níos mó a fháil fá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh agus saol na mac léinn cois Coiribe.” Dúirt Ardstiúrthóir TG4, Alan Esslemont: “Tá an iriseoireacht Ghaeilge mar bhunchloch lárnach do sheirbhís TG4 agus cuireann muid fáilte roimh an gcomhoibriú seo le OÉ Gaillimh chun iriseoirí an lae amárach a spreagadh” Agus í ag fáiltiú roimh sheoladh an chúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach, dúirt príomhfheidhmheannach COGG, Muireann Ní Mhóráin, ‘Cuirfidh an cúrsa nua seo gairm na hiriseoireachta faoi bhráid scoláirí na n-iar-bhunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge agus cuirfidh sé ar an eolas iad faoi thábhacht iriseoireacht ar ardchaighdeán agus na deiseanna atá sna meáin d’iriseoirí le Gaeilge.’ Dúirt Stiúrthóir Cláir an MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin), OÉ Gaillimh, Aodh Ó Coileáin: “Is minic a thug an Chúirt Eorpach um Chearta an Duine ‘gadhar faire an phobail’ ar ról tábhachtach na hiriseoireachta.  Go deimhin, bronnann an Chúirt cosaint ar leith don phreas mar go bfhuil feidhmiú an daonlathais ag brath ar shaoirse an phreasa.  Anois, níos mó ná riamh tá iriseoireacht chruinn, chothrom, neamhchlaonta de dhíth ar phobal na hÉireann.” “Tá súil ag Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, Nuacht RTÉ agus TG4 agus an Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta go dtabharfaidh an cúrsa nua léargas do scoláirí Idirbhliana ar ról  agus ar obair na meán agus go mb’fhéidir go spreagfaidh sé cuid acu tabhairt faoi ghairmeacha sna meáin amach anseo.  Tá an fhírinne tábhachtach in aon phobal” a dúirt Ó Coileáin Clárú don chúrsa agus breis eolais: Le clárú ba cheart do scoileanna teagmháil le le léirithe spéise agus nasc clárúcháin a fháil. Is í an Chéadaoin 10 Feabhra an spriocdháta do léirithe spéise ó scoileanna. Is í an Luan 22 Feabhra an spriocdháta le clárú. Críoch

Monday, 25 January 2021

NUI Galway hosts Iriseoirí an lae amárach - a week-long course in journalism for Transition Year students Transition Year students in Irish-medium schools are being offered a unique insight to journalism in an online course with some of Ireland’s finest television, radio and digital journalists and broadcasters. NUI Galway, Nuacht RTÉ and TG4 are running the week-long Iriseoirí an lae amárach programme in conjunction with An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) and the Department of Education. The course is aimed at post-primary students in Gaeltacht and Irish-medium schools and will be held via Zoom between 1–4 March 2021. Each day a mix of material will be presented by a team drawn from NUI Galway’s media and communications courses and from journalists broadcasting on TG4, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and producing content for online platforms.  Award winning video journalist and filmmaker Seán Mac an tSíthigh will share his skills and experience in compiling stories of a cinematic quality for TG4 and RTÉ. Gormfhlaith Ní Thuairisg will give an insight into packing the difficult questions into Adhmhaidin, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s flagship current affairs programme. Television news anchors Eimear Ní Chonaola and Siún Nic Gearailt will speak of the joys and the trials and tribulations of daily live broadcasting.  Choosing and presenting stories for online platforms will be covered by Siún Ní Dhuinn of RTÉ Digiteach/  The course will also give an insight into following a career path in media and advice on providing stories for a sporting nation on GAA, soccer and horseracing will also be outlined and discussed. Professor Breandán Mac Suibhne, Stiúrthóir Léinn, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway, said: “The last few years, punctuated by the catch-cry of ‘fake news’, have made us all more conscious of the importance of quality journalism. Iriseoirí an lae amárach enables Transition Year Students to see for themselves what journalism involves and it gives them experience that may help them decide if they wish to pursue a career in a field so vital to democracy and social justice. And it will also give them a sense of the opportunities offered by a BA at NUI Galway.” TG4’s Director General Alan Esslemont said: “Irish language journalism is a core part of the TG4 schedule, and we welcome this collaboration with NUI Galway to encourage Transition Year students to consider a career in journalism.” Welcoming the initiative, chief executive of COGG Muireann Ní Mhóráin said: “This new course will present careers in journalism to post-primary students in Gaeltacht areas and in Irish medium post-primary schools throughout the country along with emphasising the importance of high quality journalism and informing students of opportunities through the medium of Irish in this area.” Programme Director of the MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin), NUI Galway, Aodh Ó Coileáin, said: “The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has compared the vital role of journalists to that of ‘public watchdog’. Accordingly, the Court has afforded the press the broadest scope of protection. Freedom of the press is one of the great gifts of a democratic society. Perhaps now more than at any point in our history, Ireland needs free, critical, impartial and independent media.” “NUI Galway, Nuacht RTÉ and TG4 and An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta hope that this vibrant new digital course will give an insight to students and perhaps encourage some to choose education in journalism or some aspect of media and broadcasting. The truth always matters.” Registration for course and further information: Schools should write to: in order to express interest and receive a registration link. Wednesday 10 February is the deadline for expressions of interest from schools. Monday 22 February is the deadline for registration. Ends

Monday, 25 January 2021

NUI Galway student Sukanya Saikia has been selected as a Climate Force Ambassador for the upcoming International Antarctic Expedition in November 2021. Sukanya will be part of a group of 80 dedicated climate change fighters and environmentalists who will travel to the Antarctic for an intensive and immersive training program. Originally from India, Sukanya is a PhD student with the discipline of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. Her research investigates the climate change and urbanization impact on wastewater management systems. The expedition aims to train and inspire young leaders in up-to-date climate change, sustainability and clean energy skills, and to provide a platform to engage in discussion and exchange ideas with world-class climate and sustainability leaders and help build strong collaborations. Sukanya said: “I am extremely honoured and privileged to be selected for this once in a lifetime training. I am very passionate about climate change and sustainability issues and have been involved with such projects since 2013. I feel that for all the climate actions we do at an individual level, everything has acted as catalysts and manifested into this brilliant opportunity! I’m both excited and nervous and hope to get everyone’s support to complete this expedition.” Organised by 2041 Foundation, the expedition will be led by Robert Swan, OBE, polar explorer, environmentalist, and the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles. Swan has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica through the promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change. It was Swan’s original expedition to the South Pole which was the inspiration for the 2041 Foundation, an organisation he founded and dedicated to the preservation of the Polar Regions. The mission of the foundation is to engage businesses and communities on climate science, personal leadership, and the promotion of sustainable practices. Sukanya’s supervisor, Dr Eoghan Clifford, Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “This is a great and a very exclusive opportunity for Sukanya. It will allow her to experience first-hand the effects of climate change on the fragile ecosystem of Antarctica. It aligns with her PhD research and will give her a broader perspective on climate change, and I look forward to hearing from Sukanya about her experiences when she comes back.” To find out more about Sukanya’s journey or to support her with the expedition visit her GoFundMe page at -Ends-

Monday, 25 January 2021

Ireland’s energy sector to learn from Mallorca testbed  Researchers at NUI Galway are taking part in a green hydrogen research project in the Mediterranean which will help chart a path for the renewable energy enabler to be used in Ireland. Green Hysland is a five-year project that will generate, distribute and use at least 300 tonnes of hydrogen per year produced from solar energy on the Balearic island of Mallorca. In the process it will reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year. The project will embed green hydrogen in the island’s whole energy system, from solar power generators which will produce the hydrogen, to gas grid operators which will distribute it and to bus operators, vehicle rental firms, homes, businesses and hotels using it for power, heat and mobility. NUI Galway researchers Dr Pau Farràs Costa, Dr Rory Monaghan and Dr Thomas van Rensburg, members of the Energy Research Centre at the University's Ryan Institute, will assess the economic impacts of the green hydrogen on Mallorca, as well as on other island communities involved in the project, including the Aran Islands. Dr Farràs Costa, of NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry, said: “Green Hysland will be the first opportunity to demonstrate how green hydrogen holds the key to island decarbonisation and energy independence. The project has a holistic approach covering all the different end-uses from transport to heating to industry, and will be at a scale that will have an economic and environmental impact on the region.” Green Hysland - Deployment of a hydrogen ecosystem on the island of Mallorca is being supported with €10 million of European Commission funding. The project will entail investments by partners of up to €50 million in total. Antonio Llardén, President of Spanish gas company and project coordinator Enagás, said: “Projects like Green Hysland are a sign of the importance of coordination and cooperation to advance the decarbonisation process. Thanks to the 30 entities that are part of the consortium, the entire value chain is represented in the project, which ensures both the deployment of infrastructure for the production of green hydrogen and its use in final applications.” Dr Thomas van Rensburg, of the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “This highly relevant large-scale demonstration project is replicable on tourism dependent island economies around the world, including Ireland. Islands like this can use their excellent renewable energy sources to strengthen and accelerate energy security and the low carbon transition. The involvement of Energy Cooperatives Ireland means that we will be able to examine our ability to replicate green hydrogen deployment on Ireland’s islands, including the Aran Islands and Valentia Island, with their excellent renewable energy potentials.” Dr Rory Monaghan, of NUI Galway’s School of Engineering, said: “NUI Galway is an established leader in green hydrogen through research in other European projects. The research team will use its expertise in the technologies, economics, and public acceptance of renewable hydrogen to examine its role in the decarbonisation of island communities. We will help to create hydrogen value chains to maximise the economic and employment possibilities of hydrogen in Mallorca and other tourism-dependent islands closer to home. “The potential and ambition for Mallorca alone is huge. Take for example the 20,000 tonnes reduction in CO2 emissions as part of this research - that is the equivalent of the energy use in more than 2,300 homes in a year.”  The Green Hysland project will evaluate the socio-economic impact of green hydrogen on Mallorca by examining human capital, well-being and energy security. It will seek to capture the economic value of low carbon tourism and identify skills and training programmes which are required to further develop the island ecosystem and replicate it to other regions. Ends

Thursday, 21 January 2021

NUI Galway breast cancer specialists contribute to international study on the identification of nine breast cancer risk genes Study includes analysis of more than 113,000 women worldwide This study defines the genes that are most clinically useful for the detection of breast cancer risk Breast cancer investigators in the Lambe Institute at NUI Galway have collaborated on a pivotal international study into breast cancer risk which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine today (Wednesday, 20 January). The results of the study have identified that there are nine specific genes associated with breast cancer risk. Contributing authors Professor Michael Kerin, Chair of Surgery at NUI Galway, Director of the Cancer Managed Clinical Academic Network for Saolta University Health Care Group, along with Dr Nicola Miller, Lecturer in NUI Galway’s School of Medicine, have directed the Breast Cancer in Galway Genetics Study (BIGGS) since 2008. DNA samples, which have been collected from 2,000 Irish patients and controls have contributed to the findings of this paper, and to numerous high impact publications in the past decade. Led from the University of Cambridge, the BRIDGES (Breast Cancer Risk after Diagnostic Gene Sequencing) study aimed to identify women at high risk of breast cancer and to develop sensitive and informative gene panel testing for the prediction of breast cancer risk. Gene panel testing is a technique in which a number of specific genes that are linked to a particular genetic condition are examined at the same time. Gene panel testing for breast cancer susceptibility is widely used, but there is only weak evidence for cancer risk association with many genes. The BRIDGES study tested 34 potential “risk” genes from 60,466 breast cancer cases worldwide and 53,461 controls (patients who did not have breast cancer) from 44 international studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. The study found that variants in nine genes were associated with breast cancer risk (ATM, BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, PALB2, BARD1, RAD51C, RAD51D, TP53). Professor Michael Kerin, who is also Research Director of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute, a voluntary national charity that funds a comprehensive research programme at the Lambe Institute in NUI Galway, said: “With this study we can identify the members within families who have abnormal genes that puts them at a higher risk of getting breast cancer, and they can avail of strategies such as early screening and risk reduction surgery, in order to improve their life expectancy.” Professor Kerin said that the success of this research is testament to the power of bio-banking and the need to futureproof research:  “Having a set of bio-banked samples and the ability to closely follow up with these patients has enabled us to add value to international research studies and improve the knowledge base around breast cancer risk. “The BRIDGES study has revealed that changes which were thought to be unimportant in the well-known breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are significant, and this allows us to manage the risk of developing breast cancer in people affected by these gene alterations.” Acknowledging the support of breast cancer research charity funding, Dr Nicola Miller said: “This work highlights the importance of collaboration in breast cancer research in the generation of data of global significance. It helps to better define the genes associated with breast cancer risk. While we can’t change the genes we inherit, this knowledge will benefit patients undergoing genetic testing for breast-cancer susceptibility. We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing support of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute for funding the Irish contribution of this study.” The team, based in the Lambe Institute at NUI Galway, are the only Irish investigators contributing to this study. Biological samples and data from the BIGGS group are part of the Horizon 2020 funded BRIDGES study. The NUI Galway BIGGS study has included 1,000 cancer patient samples and 1,000 population-based controls recruited specifically from hospitals in the West of Ireland since 2001 and from community/retirement groups in this region from 2001-2008.  A copy of the study, ‘Breast cancer risk genes: association analysis in more than 113,000 women’ in the New England Journal of Medicineis available at        This BIGGS research was supported by the National Breast Cancer Research Institute. For more information visit See video with Professor Michael Kerin talking about the study at -Ends-

Monday, 18 January 2021

A team of researchers within the Advanced Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) at NUI Galway have discovered how human respiratory cells respond to the invading Covid-19 virus. The study, published in a special issue of the peer reviewed open access journal Viruses, identified the proteins and carbohydrates on these cells in response to infection from the coronavirus.  The researchers found that our respiratory cells act like well-tuned translators and respond to the invading Covid-19 virus by altering the presence of carbohydrates and proteins on the cell’s surface. The study also revealed that our response to Covid-19 infection is closely similar to how we respond to other viral pathogens.  Professor Lokesh Joshi, Stokes Professor of Glycosciences, said: “It is well known that all pathogens need the right combination of proteins and carbohydrates to attach to their host and infect. “The appropriate combination of this ‘molecular handshake’ determines how well all pathogens, including Covid-19, attach to our cells and the severity of the infection.  “Mutations cause minor changes in these protein-carbohydrate molecules and can alter the infectivity of the mutants and severity of the disease such as the UK, South African and Brazilian variants.” The research shows that in the Covid-19 virus the spike-glycoprotein (S-protein) is covered with carbohydrates and it binds to a protein (ACE-2 receptor) on human respiratory cells to start the infection. Dr Anup Mammen Oommen, Postdoctoral researcher, said: “These microscopic proteins and carbohydrates work together like molecular handshakes between the virus and human cells, this communication where carbohydrates are essential is often taken for granted, though is a key event for infection.”  Dr Stephen Cunningham, Research Fellow, added: “Like all viruses, Covid-19 virus also mutates as it goes through its host and multiplies. Being a RNA virus, mutations can be frequent with the infected cell not being able to correct. Some mutations are insignificant with no beneficial or detrimental impact to virus or host, however, some lead to changes in the virus’s proteins and carbohydrates that can alter how the virus interacts with cells during exposure and infection which in turn can determine severity of Covid-19.” The AGRC researchers at NUI Galway used a data science approach to provide an insight into how our cells modify the surface molecules and advance our understanding of the Covid-19 infection process. Professor Joshi added: “The research will also help us gain better insight on how our immune system responds to Covid-19 and the mutations in the virus, such as the variants identified in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. This discovery will lead to more informative biomarkers and identification of therapeutic targets to combat COVID-19 and future pathogenic agent infections.” The study has been published in the special issue of the journal Viruses and is available Ends

Monday, 18 January 2021

Professor Roger Watson has recently taken up the role as Adjunct Professor of Nursing at the School of Nursing at NUI Galway. A Professor of Nursing at the University of Hull, Professor Watson is also Editor in Chief of Nurse Education in Practice, and an Editorial Board member of the Wiki-Journal of Medicine. Professor Watson is a biology graduate of The University of Edinburgh with a PhD in biochemistry from The University of Sheffield. He qualified in Nursing at St George’s Hospital, London.  Welcoming the announcement Dr Georgina Gethin, Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, said: “Professor Watson’s contribution to Nursing over his career has been outstanding, evidenced most recently through his appointment as Editor-in-Chief of Nurse Education in Practice. His textbooks have remained part of core curriculum in nursing programmes worldwide. He has provided leadership and acts as a true role-model for Nursing students. We are honoured that he has been appointed to the School of Nursing and Midwifery as an Adjunct Professor and look forward to working with him to continue to advance the mission of the school and contribute to improving the lives of the people we serve through our education, research and public engagement.” Professor Watson said: “I am very pleased to be invited to work with colleagues in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway as an Adjunct Professor and I look forward to the next three years. The School is well regarded nationally and internationally and it is my honour to be associated with it." Professor Watson’s specialised interest area is feeding and nutritional problems of older people with dementia. He holds honorary and visiting positions in China, Hong Kong, and Australia. He was a member of the UK 2008 Research Assessment Exercise sub-panel for Nursing and Midwifery and a 2014 Research Excellence Framework sub-panel for Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy. In 2017 Professor Watson was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. -Ends-

Monday, 18 January 2021

Two NUI Galway students have been awarded scholarships by multinational technology company Intel as part of its programme to encourage the next generation of high-achieving women. The successful students are Eimear McDonnell, from Westport, Co Mayo, in third year BSc Environmental Health and Safety and Emily Metadjer, from Shrule, Co Mayo, in second year BSc Computer Science and Information Technology. The Intel Women in Technology scholarship programme aims to encourage a new generation of high-achieving women to take up the challenge of a career in science and technology and to empower them by fostering educational opportunities. Dr Marie Coggins, lecturer in Exposure Science in NUI Galway’s School of Physics, which secured an Athena Bronze Award in 2020, said: “The scholarship is a tremendous achievement and gives the students excellent opportunities in terms of work experience, learning and applying their knowledge in a world class multinational. “Environmental Health and Safety professionals play a key role in managing environmental and occupational hazards across a range of sectors and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role of this profession in protecting the health of workers, our community and society. Eimear is in third year of NUI Galway’s internationally accredited Environmental Health and Safety programme, which offers excellent job prospects, with graduates immediately qualified to work having gained the essential academic and practical skills required to execute the role in any sector, on any continent and the Intel scholarship is a huge plus.” Eimear McDonnell said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been selected. It’s an excellent opportunity for me to progress my studies and to get a work placement with Intel, a world renowned company, that will give me invaluable experience and will undoubtedly influence my career.” Professor Michael Madden, Head of NUI Galway’s School of Computer Science, said: “We are delighted that Emily has secured this scholarship. We are very keen to support young women, as they are under-represented in the field of Computer Science nationally and internationally. As well as the financial award, the scholarship includes mentoring, which is valuable for nurturing young talent and helping students to achieve their high potential.” Eimly Metadjer said: “I am extremely grateful to have received this scholarship from Intel, one of the foremost tech companies in the world. This is not just a huge opportunity for me personally, but this scholarship is extremely important to help bridge the gender gap in computer science and to encourage and enable women in technology.” The Intel Women in Technology scholarship program offers a monetary grant, valued at €3,000 per annum, as well as opportunities for work placements at the Intel Leixlip and Shannon campuses. Each scholar is also assigned a mentor who is an Intel employee to assist and provide advice on managing their academic career. Since the Intel Women in Technology scholarship program began 15 years ago, it has supported 129 students and a total of €1,675,000 has been invested in the initiative to date. Ends

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

NUI Galway has announced the results of elections for staff and graduates to its new Governing Authority, which sees women take up six of the 10 positions. The new Údarás na hOllscoile will come into existence on 1 February 2021 and will serve until 2025. An online election was held on Monday and Tuesday of this week to appoint the University staff and graduates to the new Governing Authority. President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh thanked all those who stood for election and welcomed the new members. “All those who stood for election to the Údarás deserve huge credit for supporting our University’s democracy and raising the profile of the Governing Authority and the important work it does,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said. “And congratulations to all those who have been successful. The work of the members of the new Údarás in the coming months and years will be crucial as our University implements our strategic plan Shared Vision, Shaped by Values and assesses and supports all the other initiatives and developments that we are pursuing. “The range of talent, commitment and experience that our graduates, academics and professionals bring to the new Governing Authority will be an enormous asset for our University as we work to ensure the high levels of transparency, accountability and ambition fitting for our university as an institution for the public good.” The following have been elected to the new Governing Authority: :: Academic staff - Dr Rachel Hilliard; Dr Anthony Grehan; Dr Dara Cannon :: Professional service staff - Sinéad Beacom; Eric Mortimer; Monica Crump :: Graduates - Edel Browne; Conor Fottrell; Retired Brigadier General Ger Aherne; Nuala Ní Chonghaile More than 5,000 graduates and staff voted in the election. Three Professors were appointed to the Governing Authority ahead of the election after the number of nominations matched the number of available positions. They are Professor Aisling McCluskey, School of Mathematics, Statistics & Applied Mathematics; Professor Michal Molcho, Children’s Studies, School of Education; and Professor Jim O’Gara, School of Natural Sciences. Student elections to elect four representatives to the Governing Authority will begin in late January. Caroline Loughnane, NUI Galway Secretary for Governance & Academic Affairs, said: “We have experienced unprecedented levels of interest in this election from staff and graduates. It is really inspiring to see the range and quality of candidates who are willing to invest their time and energy in shaping the future of the University. “There has never been a more important time for effective and agile governance. As universities navigate the uncertain landscape created by the Covid-19 pandemic and look ahead to impending changes in governance legislation from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science, Minister Simon Harris, the role of the Governing Authority is crucial in setting the strategic direction for higher education.” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh also paid tribute to the members of the outgoing Údarás. “It was a privilege for our University to have someone like former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness chair the Údarás for the last number of years, working with members who had such a breadth of expertise and knowledge for the betterment of our University. Thank you to everyone who served on the Údarás and supported its work over the last five years,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said. Ends

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh torthaí thoghcháin na foirne agus na gcéimithe d’Údarás nua na hOllscoile, ina bhfuil sé áit as deich bainte amach ag mná. Tiocfaidh Údarás nua na hOllscoile i bhfeidhm an 1 Feabhra 2021 agus beidh sé ann go dtí 2025. Tionóladh toghchán ar líne Dé Luain agus Dé Máirt chun comhaltaí foirne agus céimithe de chuid na hOllscoile a cheapadh ar Údarás nua na hOllscoile. Ghabh Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh buíochas le gach duine a sheas sa toghchán agus chuir sé fáilte roimh na comhaltaí nua. “Tá creidiúint mhór tuillte ag gach duine a sheas sa toghchán don Údarás as tacú le daonlathas ár nOllscoile agus próifíl an Údaráis a ardú agus an obair thábhachtach a dhéanann sé,” a dúirt an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh. “Agus tréaslaím le gach duine ar éirigh leo. Beidh obair chomhaltaí an Údaráis nua sna míonna agus sna blianta amach romhainn ríthábhachtach de réir mar a chuirfidh ár nOllscoil ár bplean straitéiseach Fís i gCoiteann, Múnlaithe ag Luachanna i bhfeidhm agus muid ag déanamh measúnú ar agus ag tabhairt tacaíocht do na tionscnaimh agus na forbairtí eile atá á saothrú againn. “Is acmhainn ollmhór dár nOllscoil an raon cumais, tiomantais agus taithí a thugann ár gcéimithe, lucht acadúil agus gairmithe chuig Údarás nua na hOllscoile agus muid ag obair chun na leibhéil arda trédhearcachta, cuntasachta agus uaillmhéine a oireann dár n-ollscoil a chinntiú mar institiúid ar mhaithe le leas an phobail.” Toghadh iad seo a leanas ar Údarás nua na hOllscoile. :: An fhoireann acadúil – An Dr Rachel Hilliard; an Dr Anthony Grehan; an Dr Dara Cannon. :: Foireann na seirbhíse gairmiúla – Sinéad Beacom; Eric Mortimer; Monica Crump. :: Céimithe – Edel Browne; Conor Fottrell; an Briogáidire-Ghinearál Ger Aherne; Nuala Ní Chonghaile. Vótáil breis agus 5,000 céimí agus comhalta foirne sa toghchán. Ceapadh triúr Ollúna ar Údarás na hOllscoile roimh an toghchán ós rud é go raibh líon na n-ainmniúchán mar a chéile le líon na n-áiteanna a bhí ar fáil. Is iad sin an tOllamh Aisling McCluskey, Scoil na Matamaitice, na Staitisticí & na Matamaitice Feidhmí; an tOllamh Michal Molcho, Léann Leanaí, Scoil an Oideachais; agus an tOllamh Jim O’Gara, Scoil na nEolaíochtaí Nádúrtha. Cuirfear tús le toghcháin na mac léinn chun ceathrar ionadaithe a thoghadh ar Údarás na hOllscoile ag deireadh mhí Eanáir. Dúirt Caroline Loughnane, Rúnaí Gnóthaí Rialachais & Acadúla OÉ Gaillimh: “Bhí spéis nach bhfacthas riamh cheana sa toghchán seo ag comhaltaí foirne agus ag céimithe. Is mór an spreagadh é réimse agus caighdeán na n-iarrthóirí atá toilteanach a gcuid ama agus fuinnimh a infheistiú i dtodhchaí na hOllscoile. “Ní raibh rialachas éifeachtach agus solúbtha chomh tábhachtach riamh cheana. De réir mar a thugann ollscoileanna aghaidh ar an saol éiginnte a chruthaigh paindéim Covid-19 agus iad ag tnúth le hathruithe atá le teacht ó reachtaíocht an Aire Breisoideachais agus Ardoideachais, Taighde, Nuálaíochta & Eolaíochta, an tAire Simon Harris, tá ról Údarás na hOllscoile ríthábhachtach maidir leis an treo straitéiseach a leagan amach don ardoideachas.” Thréaslaigh an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh le comhaltaí an Údaráis atá ag dul as oifig. “Ba phribhléid é dár nOllscoil iarbhreitheamh na Cúirte Uachtaraí, Catherine McGuinness a bheith ina cathaoirleach ar an Údarás le roinnt blianta anuas, ag obair le comhaltaí a raibh an oiread sin saineolais agus eolais acu a chuir siad chun tairbhe na hOllscoile. Mo bhuíochas le gach comhalta a bhí ar an Údarás agus a thacaigh lena chuid oibre le cúig bliana anuas,” a dúirt an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh. Críoch

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

NUI Galway will hold a virtual information evening on Wednesday, 13 January, from 7-9pm, focusing on the needs of Mature Students and Adult Learners who may be considering full-time or part-time studies for the 2021 academic year. This online information evening is designed particularly for those aged 23 or over wishing to find out more about study options at NUI Galway, and will assist attendees in making the right decision which suits their personal circumstances and professional development needs. Trish Bourke, Mature Student Officer at NUI Galway, said: “Mature Students are a valued asset to our university and they bring enthusiasm and motivation to learn and manage family life and studies to reach their goal of attaining a rich education.” The University’s Career and Development Centre will deliver a lecture focusing on what course of study will best suit individual circumstances and career pathways, and there will be an opportunity to hear from a diverse panel of current Mature Students. Staff from NUI Galway’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses, along with representative from the University’s Support Service will also be present to guide attendees on the range of course options and supports offered at NUI Galway.  Academic staff will also be available to answer specific queries on degrees and progression. Members of the Access Centre will be available  to answer questions on pre-university courses in terms of Access courses, and the Disability Support Services, who have expertise in supporting students at third level who may have a long-term health condition (physical or mental), or a specific learning difficulty, will also be in attendance to give guidance to prospective students. Registration for this event is essential. Please register at or contact -Ends-

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh go mbeidh toghchán Údarás na hOllscoile ar siúl an tseachtain seo chugainn, agus gur mná iad níos mó ná leath na n-iarrthóirí. Tá 30 comhalta foirne agus céimí ollscoile san iomlán ag seasamh i dtoghchán Údarás na hOllscoile, lena n-áirítear 18 gcéimí, seachtar comhaltaí foirne seirbhíse gairmiúla na hOllscoile agus cúigear comhaltaí foirne acadúla. Toghadh triúr ollúna go huathoibríoch cheana féin. Tá thart ar 50,000 céimí agus comhalta foirne Ollscoile i dteideal vóta a chaitheamh, agus beidh an bhallóid ar líne oscailte ar feadh 27 uair an chloig – ó 9am Dé Luain, an 11 Eanáir 2021 go dtí meán lae Dé Máirt, an 12 Eanáir 2021. Mhol Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh go láidir do gach comhalta foirne agus alumni incháilithe a vóta a chaitheamh. “Tá spéis nach bhfacthas riamh roimhe sa toghchán don chéad Údarás eile, agus alumni ar fud an domhain ag clárú le vótáil agus tá spéis á léiriú trí na hardáin meán sóisialta atá againn. Taispeánann sé an luach a chuireann pobal na hOllscoile sa bhaile agus thar lear ar Údarás na hOllscoile,” a deir an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh. “Is é an tÚdarás an coiste is tábhachtaí inár nOllscoil – is ann a leagtar amach ár bhfreagracht agus ár dtrédhearcacht mar institiúid ar mhaithe le leas an phobail agus is ann a fhorbraítear agus a thacaítear lenár gcuid smaointe, ár n-uaillmhianta agus ár straitéisí. Ba mhaith liom buíochas speisialta a ghabháil le gach duine a chuir a n-ainm chun cinn le bheith páirteach in obair an Údaráis sna blianta amach romhainn. Léiríonn an réimse leathan aoise, taithí, oideachais agus scileanna an luach atá ag ár n-alumni ar an Ollscoil agus an fonn atá orthu rud éigin a thabhairt ar ais. “Molaim do gach duine atá cláraithe gan dearmad a dhéanamh a vóta a chaitheamh.” Tá sonraí an 30 ainmní do chéad Údarás na hOllscoile eile ar fáil anseo. Táthar ag súil torthaí an toghcháin a fhógairt Dé Máirt, an 12 Eanáir 2021, agus rachaidh an chéad Údarás eile i mbun oifige an 1 Feabhra 2021. Ceapadh triúr Ollúna ar Údarás na hOllscoile mar go raibh líon na n-ainmniúchán mar a chéile le líon na n-áiteanna a bhí ar fáil – an tOllamh Aisling McCluskey, Scoil na Matamaitice, na Staitisticí & na Matamaitice Feidhmí; an tOllamh Michal Molcho, Léann Leanaí, Scoil an Oideachais; agus an tOllamh Jim O’Gara, Scoil na nEolaíochtaí Nádúrtha. Cuirfear tús le toghcháin na mac léinn chun ceathrar ionadaithe a thoghadh ar Údarás na hOllscoile ag deireadh mhí Eanáir. Ag labhairt di faoin raon éagsúil tréithe atá riachtanach do bhallraíocht Údarás na hOllscoile, dúirt an Rúnaí Gnóthaí Rialachais & Acadúla, Caroline Loughnane: “Tá ról Údarás na hOllscoile mar phríomhchomhlacht cinnteoireachta ríthábhachtach maidir le treo na hOllscoile sa todhchaí a fhorbairt. Tá meascán éagsúil scileanna, taithí agus tréithe pearsanta riachtanach do Bhord a fheidhmíonn go maith agus is ábhar mór misnigh é an éagsúlacht sin a fheiceáil i bpróifílí na n-iarrthóirí atá san iomaíocht sa toghchán. Tá rogha iontach ar fáil don lucht vótála agus mholfainn go láidir don fhoireann agus do chéimithe a gcuid vótaí a úsáid chun a dtuairimí a chur in iúl sa toghchán seo.” Dúirt an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh: “Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil le baill uile Údarás na hOllscoile atá ag dul as oifig as a dtiomantas agus a gcuid oibre le blianta beaga anuas agus buíochas speisialta le Cathaoirleach Údarás na hOllscoile, Catherine McGuinness. Bhí sé de phribhléid ag ár nOllscoil tairbhe a bhaint as eolas, as taithí agus as neamhspleáchas iarBhreitheamh na Cúirte Uachtaraí ar feadh an oiread sin blianta. Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh freisin leis na hollúna a ceapadh ar an gcéad Údarás eile – táim cinnte go gcuirfidh siadsan go mór leis an ról agus táim ag súil le bheith ag obair leo agus le gach ball d’Údarás na hOllscoile i gcinntiú go mbaintear amach leibhéal freagrachta agus uaillmhéine mar atá leagtha amach inár bplean straitéiseach, Fís i gCoiteann, Múnlaithe ag Luachanna, dár gcuid mac léinn, dár sochaí agus dár bpláinéad.” Críoch

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

NUI Galway has announced the election of a new Governing Authority will take place next week, with women making up more than half of the candidates. A total of 30 university staff and graduates are standing for election to Údarás na hOllscoile, including 18 graduates, 7 from the University’s professional service staff and 5 academic staff. Three professors have been automatically elected. Around 50,000 University graduates and staff are eligible to vote*, with the online ballot open for 27 hours – from 9am on Monday 11 January 2021 until midday on Tuesday 12 January 2021. President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh urged all eligible staff and alumni to use their vote. “The election for the next Údarás has seen unprecedented interest, both from alumni across the world registering to vote and also through our social media platforms. It demonstrates the value which our University community at home and abroad places on our Governing Authority,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said. “The Údarás is the most important committee in our University - it is the place where we establish our accountability and transparency as an institution for the public good and where our ideas, our ambitions and our strategies are shaped and supported. "I want to extend a special word of thanks to everyone who stood up and put themselves forward to play a part in its work in the coming years. The breadth and range of ages, experience, education and skills highlights the value our alumni attach to the University and their desire to give back. “I would encourage all those who have registered to vote to remember to cast their ballots.” Details of the 30 nominees for the next Governing Authority are available to view online The results of the election are due to be released on Tuesday 12 January 2021, with the next Governing Authority to take office on 1 February 2021. Three Professors were appointed to the Governing Authority after the number of nominations matched the number of available positions. They are Professor Aisling McCluskey, School of Mathematics, Statistics & Applied Mathematics; Professor Michal Molcho, Children’s Studies, School of Education; and Professor Jim O’Gara, School of Natural Sciences. Student elections to elect four representatives to the Governing Authority will begin in late January. Speaking about the diverse range of attributes required in the membership of the Governing Authority, Caroline Loughnane, NUI Galway's Secretary for Governance & Academic Affairs, said: “The role of the Governing Authority as the ultimate decision-making body is pivotal in shaping the future direction of the University. A diverse mix of skills, experience and personal attributes are essential components of a well-functioning Board and it is really encouraging to see such diversity in the profiles of the candidates running for election. Voters are spoiled for choice and I would strongly encourage staff and graduates to use their votes to make their voices heard in this election.” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh added: “I would like to thank all the members of the outgoing Governing Authority for their commitment and work in recent years and a special word of thanks to the Chair of Údarás na hOllscoile Catherine McGuinness. Our University was privileged to be able to call on the former Supreme Court Judge’s knowledge, experience and independence for so many years. "I would also like to congratulate the professors who have been appointed to the next Governing Authority - I am sure they too will bring a wealth of talent to the role. I look forward to working with them and all the members of our Governing Authority in ensuring a level of accountability and ambition which matches our place in the world, as set out in our strategic plan, Shared Vision, Shaped by Values, for our students, for our society and for our planet.” Ends * This figure includes eligible Alumni who have registered their emails with the Alumni Office for communication purposes. The total number of graduates eligible to vote is higher. For graduates on the Alumni database who are eligible to vote and may not have access to email, a web landing page has been developed to enable such voters to access their vote on Jan. 11th and 12th at the following link:

Friday, 26 February 2021

The Moore Institute in association with the MA in Public Policy at NUI Galway will host a webinar on Thursday 4 March, analysing the outcome of the EU-UK Trade Agreement signed in late December 2020. Three leading commentators on European trade, diplomacy, and Northern Ireland will take part in the discussion: Carlo Trojan, David O’Sullivan, and Katy Hayward. Carlo Trojan spent his career as senior European Commission official, working on competition policy, agriculture, German unification, and Northern Ireland (as head of the Commission’s Task Force). He served as European Commission secretary general 1997-2001 and EU Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation. He will provide an overall assessment of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. David O’Sullivan recently retired as EU Ambassador to the Unites States. He formerly served as Director General of Trade for the European Commission and as secretary general. He will discuss the Irish perspective on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the concept of “Global Britain” and the prospects of a UK-US trade agreement. Katy Hayward is Professor of Political Sociology at Queen’s University Belfast and a Senior Fellow of UK in a Changing Europe. She will discuss Northern Ireland and the implementation and resistance to the Northern Ireland Protocol. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The deal to reach an EU-UK trade agreement came at the 11th hour. This webinar provides a chance to examine how the two parties fared in the negotiation, with contributions from a remarkable panel of experts.” Professor Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Director of the MA in Public Policy, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “As the implications of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement begin to become clear there is an urgent need to consider how it will shape relations between Ireland, Britain, Europe, and the world in the coming decades. Our three speakers have unique expertise on the topic.” The online event will take place on Thursday, 4 March at 12pm. To attend this free webinar, register at: For further information contact -Ends-

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Research from NUI Galway in collaboration with the University of Zaragoza, Spain has carried out a study on how Instagram Likes affect people. Instagram recently piloted an initiative of hiding the number of Likes a post receives from other users. A rationale for hiding Likes was to support wellbeing through reduced competition for Likes. In an experiment with 280 Instagram users in the United States, the researchers investigated the effect of hiding Likes on negative affect (a subjective form of emotional distress, for instance being upset, ashamed, or nervous) and loneliness. Results show that this new measure introduced by Instagram can improve users’ wellbeing. In the study, which had 62% male and 38% female participants with an average age of 34, Instagram users were asked how many Likes they would expect to receive for a post. On average 145 Likes were expected. The participants were then given scenarios where they received a lot more or far fewer Likes than they expected, and also that their followers could or could not see how many Likes they received. Following each scenario, the participants’ negative affect and their loneliness were measured using a questionnaire. The study’s author, Dr Elaine Wallace, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway, said: “We already know, for instance, that people who are lonely tend to be bigger users of social media, and tend to generate and consume more Instagram content. We also know that social media use can lead to social comparison, or ‘sizing up’ how we are doing relative to others, and this can lead to negative outcomes. "In this study, we wanted to investigate whether hiding Instagram Likes would have an effect on users’ wellbeing, when they received a high or a low number of Likes for a post. If, for instance, I expect to get 10 Likes for a post, does getting far more than 10 Likes make me feel less lonely? If others cannot see how many Likes I get, does that have any effect?” Dr Wallace continued: “In our study we found that competition for relative position in terms of number of Likes may be making people unhappy. People are seeking Likes to feel less lonely, but getting those Likes also increases negative affect - those feelings of being upset or ashamed or nervous. We found this especially when Instagram users know that others can see how many Likes they get. Hiding the visibility of an Instagram users’ Likes from others could therefore be a good idea.” The study also found that when Likes were much lower than Instagram users hoped, they were more lonely, but they did not experience negative affect, even when those Likes were visible to others. The researchers believe this may be because these people feel they have already ‘lost’ to others in the relative competition for Likes, so it did not matter to them whether their Likes were visible or not. The study also looked at Instagram users who are vulnerable narcissists, individuals who might be especially sensitive to image threat and to interpersonal rejection and may engage in tactics to try to avoid rejection. In the study, vulnerable narcissism was associated with greater loneliness. Dr Wallace added: “Vulnerable narcissists have a great fear of being evaluated. Our study shows that, for vulnerable narcissists, getting higher numbers of Likes reduces loneliness. These users are especially sensitive to social comparison, and they may be engaging in Like-seeking to seek validation and avoid rejection.” Co-author Isabel Buil, from the University of Zaragoza, Spain, concluded: “Like-seeking can become a vicious cycle, as our findings suggest that when people receive more Likes they feel less lonely, but receiving more Likes can also make them feel more unhappy, especially when others can see those Likes. This could trigger Like-seeking behaviours again. We find little evidence to suggest that well-being is improved by showing Likes to Instagram followers.” Read the full study in the journal, Elsevier ScienceDirect, here: See a short video about the study here: -Ends-

Thursday, 25 February 2021

NUI Galway study finds problem and non-problem gamblers differ in the gratifications they seek from mobile gambling Non problematic mobile gambling is associated with positive mood Advice for regulators and mobile gamblers on how to avoid gambling harms A study carried out by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway has examined how the different gratifications sought from mobile gambling explain problematic versus non-problematic patterns in highly involved gamblers. For a subgroup of vulnerable individuals, gambling involvement can be pathological and reflects a personality disorder. For many others though, gambling is a non-problematic recreational activity.  The study focused specifically on mobile gambling, whereby people gamble online using their smartphones through specially designed apps and websites. Mobile gambling differs from land-based and traditional forms of gambling in that the opportunity to place bets and engage with casinos is constantly present and easily accessible. Instead of going to a physical bookmaker or casino, mobile gambling is done quickly and swiftly, anytime, anywhere, with a few taps on a mobile device, and mobile apps have been found to promote a form of gambling that is more impulsive and habitual in nature. The study found that high involvement in mobile gambling is not essentially problematic.  Problem and non-problem gamblers differ in the gratifications they seek from mobile gambling. Using gambling apps to facilitate social interaction and avoid boredom are key motivations for problem gamblers, but not for non-problem gamblers. Moreover, the person’s mood depends on the type of passion they hold for mobile gambling. When their passion is obsessive, mood tends to be low, but is much higher when the passion is harmonious and under control. Lead author of the study, Dr Eoin Whelan, Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The pandemic and the lockdown that followed has led to a surge in people gambling through their smartphones. We know that mobile gambling is different to traditional forms of gambling in that it attracts younger people and is more conducive to risky behaviour. However, for some highly involved mobile gamblers, it is not a harmful activity and can actually be associated with positive mood. For others, it can have severe adverse effects on them and their families.  “Our study sought to find out what differentiates the two groups with the findings suggesting social gratifications are much more pertinent in problematic gamblers. The link between social gratifications and obsessive gambling could be a result of the broader cultural normalisation of mobile gambling. Regulators wishing to promote responsible gambling should consider restricting gambling app promotions from depictions and associations with social inclusion.” The research was based on a global sample of 327 people who use gambling apps on a weekly basis, and was authored by Dr Whelan with Samuli Laato and Najmul Islam of the University of Turku, Finland, and Joël Billieux of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. A copy of the full study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, is available at -Ends-

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

NUI Galway is to host a series of online events on Monday 1 March 2021 as part of Traveller Ethnicity Day. Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris T.D., Senator Eileen Flynn, children’s author Richard O’Neill and US-based academic Professor Sharon Gmelch are among those taking part. March 1 2021 marks five years since the Government officially recognised Irish Travellers as an ethnic group. To mark the anniversary, the flag of the Mincéirs Whiden Society, the only university society for Irish Travellers, will fly above the Quad at NUI Galway and a series of films will be shown including a specially produced short documentary Travellers in Higher Education: Building a Sense of Belonging. Other events planned for the day include panel discussions on pathways to education and a career in teaching and what the State’s recognition of Traveller ethnicity has meant for the community. The full schedule of events and how to access them is available at  Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “Even with the limitations placed on the University because of COVID-19, the events planned for March 1st 2021 are both hugely symbolic and an important showcase and support for the Travelling community. They resonate with our values of openness and respect. “I look forward to taking part on the day. Being able to highlight the opportunities in our University is central to the strategy we are pursuing at NUI Galway of Shared Vision, Shaped by Values. Our community, of which the Travelling community is a part, is proud to see initiatives like this, for the public good.”  Imelda Byrne, Head of NUI Galway's Access Centre, said: “We are delighted to celebrate Traveller Ethnicity Day again this year, and to further embed the progress made by the Access Centre in supporting Travellers to access higher education and become a part of NUI Galway community.”  Owen Ward, Programme Coordinator in NUI Galway’s Access Centre who is leading the day’s events, said: “We are highlighting the openness of NUI Galway, its commitment to showcasing the rich heritage of the Travelling community and the importance of building bridges between all communities.  “NUI Galway are the only university in Ireland to officially celebrate Traveller Ethnicity Day annually through a day long series of events and there is a great commitment to widening the participation of Irish Travellers in third level education. Through a strong collaboration of numerous partners across the NUI Galway community, this event creates the opportunity for all students, including Irish Travellers, to start planning to study and build their sense of belonging at NUI Galway.” Ends   Lá Eitneachais na dTaistealaithe á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh Tá OÉ Gaillimh le sraith imeachtaí ar líne a reachtáil Dé Luain, an 1 Márta 2021 mar chuid de Lá Eitneachais na dTaistealaithe. Tá an tAire Breisoideachais agus Ardoideachais, Taighde, Nuálaíochta agus Eolaíochta Simon Harris, an Seanadóir Eileen Flynn, an t-údar do leanaí Richard O'Neill agus an tOllamh acadúil atá lonnaithe i Meiriceá Sharon Gmelch ina measc siúd a bheas ag glacadh páirte. Beidh sé cúig bliana an 1 Márta 2021 ó thug an stát aitheantas foirmiúil do Thaistealaithe na hÉireann mar ghrúpa mionlach eitneach. Chun é a chomóradh, beidh bratach Chumann Mincéirs Whiden, an t-aon chumann ollscoile do Thaistealaithe na hÉireann, ar foluain os cionn na Cearnóige in OÉ Gaillimh agus taispeánfar sraith scannán lena n-áirítear clár faisnéise gairid Travellers in Higher Education: Building a Sense of Belonging a léiríodh go speisialta. I measc na n-imeachtaí eile atá beartaithe don lá tá plé painéil ar chosáin chuig an oideachas agus chuig gairm sa mhúinteoireacht agus an méid a shíleann an pobal Taistealaithe faoi aitheantas an Stáit d’eitneacht na dTaistealaithe. Tá sceideal iomlán na n-imeachtaí agus an bealach le rochtain a fháil orthu ar fáil anseo Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Fiú amháin leis na srianta  a cuireadh ar an Ollscoil mar gheall ar COVID-19, tá na himeachtaí atá beartaithe don 1 Márta 2021 an-siombalach agus is iontach an léiriú agus an tacaíocht iad don phobal Taistealaithe. Tá na himeachtaí ag teacht lenár luachanna a bhaineann le hoscailteacht agus le meas. Táim ag súil go mór le páirt a ghlacadh sa lá. Is cuid lárnach den straitéis atá á saothrú againn in OÉ Gaillimh, Fís i gCoiteann, Múnlaithe ag Luachanna, é a bheith in ann aird a tharraingt ar na deiseanna inár nOllscoil. Is cúis bhróid é dár bpobal, a bhfuil an pobal taistealaithe ina chuid de, tionscnaimh mar seo a fheiceáil, ar mhaithe le leas an phobail. " Dúirt Imelda Byrne, Ceann an Ionaid Rochtana in OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá an-áthas orainn Lá Eitneachais na dTaistealaithe a cheiliúradh arís i mbliana, agus forbairt a dhéanamh ar an dul chun cinn atá déanta ag an Ionad Rochtana maidir le tacú le Taistealaithe rochtain a fháil ar ardoideachas agus a bheith mar chuid de phobal OÉ Gaillimh.” Dúirt Owen Ward, Comhordaitheoir Cláir in Ionad Rochtana OÉ Gaillimh atá i gceannas ar imeachtaí an lae: “Táimid ag cur béim ar oscailteacht OÉ Gaillimh, a tiomantas chun oidhreacht shaibhir an phobail Taistealaithe a thaispeáint agus an tábhacht a bhaineann le hathmhuintearas idir gach pobal. “Is í OÉ Gaillimh an t-aon ollscoil in Éirinn a cheiliúrann Lá Eitneachais na dTaistealaithe go hoifigiúil gach bliain trí shraith imeachtaí lae agus tá sárthiomantas anseo chun rannpháirtíocht Thaistealaithe na hÉireann in oideachas tríú leibhéal a leathnú. Trí chomhoibriú láidir idir comhpháirtithe éagsúla ar fud phobal OÉ Gaillimh, tugann an ócáid seo an deis do gach mac léinn, lena n-áirítear Taistealaithe, tosú ag pleanáil don staidéar agus don mhothú muintearais in OÉ Gaillimh.” Críoch

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

NUI Galway is delighted to announce a new partnership with Rowing Ireland as an official 'Rowing Ireland Partner Pathway University' that will help develop the high-performance programme at NUI Galway. This partnership builds on the already strong working relationship between the University and Rowing Ireland over the past number of years.  NUI Galway will become a Pathway University, to develop talented pathway athletes for international selection at Under 23 and eventually Olympic level. In addition to this, the partnership will provide value to NUI Galway coaches as Rowing Ireland help to upskill these coaches to improve the rowing programme on campus. This will in turn increase the number of NUI Galway athletes on the national squad.  Mike Heskin, Director of Sport and Physical Activity at NUI Galway, said “We are very excited about this New Partnership with Rowing Ireland’s High Performance Programme. The University has been developing partnerships with a number of the High Performance Sport programmes in Ireland involving both domestic and Olympic sports. These partnerships will prove hugely beneficial to our University athletes by providing a clean pathway for them to archive their athletic goals.  "We are especially delighted to be in partnership with Rowing Ireland to build on the existing relationship which has provided Olympians in our recent past. We hope to see a number of other sports follow Rowing’s Lead and operate a high performance programme from the NUI Galway’s campus.”  Rowing Ireland and NUI Galway will work hand in hand to develop a sustainable and robust pathway of young athletes from Junior to Under 23 World Championship level before progressing to the senior Olympic team. NUI Galway head coach, Ciro Prisco will continue to build on his experience as part of Rowing Ireland's High-Performance coaching team (Under 23 World Championships 2019 and Junior European Championships 2020) by taking up the new position of temporary High-Performance assistant coach, working with the team at the National Rowing Centre while combining his duties as NUI Galway head coach, overseeing the development of the club programme in Galway.  Commenting on today's announcement, High-Performance Director Antonio Maurogiovanni, said "We are delighted to have NUI Galway as a partner in supporting the High-Performance Programme Pathway. Along with our partnership with Queens, NUI Galway will have an essential role in our High-Performance programme's success in the years to come. "We welcome Ciro Prisco to our High-Performance team in an important role as Assistant Coach for our High-Performance Senior Athletes. Ciro will be a valuable member of the team, and we look forward to working with him and supporting him alongside his role in NUI Galway." Michelle Carpenter, Rowing Ireland Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are delighted to welcome NUI Galway as a new partner and as a Pathway University. NUI Galway has a history of producing World Class athletes, and this partnership will benefit both NUI Galway and Rowing Ireland for the future. This partnership is a testament to the vision and hard work that our High-Performance Team has put in. I want to thank Antonio Maurogiovanni and Fran Keane for their hard work in getting this over the line."  -Ends-

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Call for researchers, at undergraduate or early postgraduate level, to apply for the first All-Ireland MS Research Network Research Summer Scholarships Researchers in NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast and RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences have launched the All-Ireland MS Research Network today (24 February 2021). The All-Ireland MS Research Network will join together the largest number of scientists, clinicians, healthcare professionals and people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to accelerate collaborative research across the island of Ireland. Going from the patient to the bench and bringing discovery research forward to the patient, the network holds potential to limit the progression of multiple sclerosis, to train future generations of researchers and to contribute to global multiple sclerosis research. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, immune-mediated condition of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and optic nerve). In multiple sclerosis, myelin damage results in a range of symptoms including impairment of mobility and vision as well as cognitive difficulties and severe fatigue. As one of the most common causes of neurological disability in young people, multiple sclerosis is increasing in incidence and prevalence around the world. Currently, there are approximately 13,500 people on the island of Ireland living with multiple sclerosis (4,500 in Northern Ireland and 9,000 in the Republic of Ireland). The goals of the All-Ireland MS Research Network are to: Deliver cutting-edge research in multiple sclerosis that focuses on limiting disease progression Train the next generation of leaders in multiple sclerosis research Communicate multiple sclerosis research activities and discoveries to the public, research community and key stakeholders Collaborate on multiple sclerosis research programmes nationally and internationally to achieve the mission of the network Founding investigators Professor Denise Fitzgerald, Dr Alerie Guzman de la Fuente and Dr Yvonne Dombrowski (Queen's University Belfast), Dr Claire McCoy (RCSI) and Dr Una FitzGerald and Dr Jill McMahon (NUI Galway), reached out to dozens of multi-disciplinary multiple sclerosis researchers across the island of Ireland, North and South. Network members are drawn from hospitals, multiple sclerosis day-care centres, Universities, and from those who have multiple sclerosis. Dr Una Fitzgerald, Biomedical Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, NUI Galway, said: “The founding members have worked tirelessly over the last 12 months to define the All-Ireland MS Research Networks's goals, aspirations and research mission. We firmly believe that closer collaborations and sharing of ideas and expertise across the network will lead to exciting discoveries that better explain multiple sclerosis pathology and symptoms, and that could be the basis of new approaches to MS disease management. The network will facilitate excellence in new multiple sclerosis research discoveries that might otherwise not happen.” Dr Chris McGuigan, consultant neurologist, St. Vincent’s University Hospital, UCD Clinical Professor, and a network participant, said: “The formation of All-Ireland MS Research Network is an exciting new venture that will promote and accelerate  research into multiple sclerosis on the island of Ireland, enhancing our reputation for research excellence worldwide. It will provide coordinated information on developments in multiple sclerosis research nationally including the latest laboratory research outputs and novel technical advances. The network is multi-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and cross-community, and will partner with global collaborators to ensure continued opportunities to participate in the latest bench-to-bedside studies to improve care for people living with multiple sclerosis and inspire, engage and train a new generation of clinical and academic researchers in Ireland.” Alexis Donnelly, has lived with progressive multiple sclerosis for nearly 30 years, and is excited by the formation of All-Ireland MS Research Network. “This network will facilitate multiple sclerosis researchers throughout the island to cooperate across institutional and disciplinary boundaries, linking them not only with each other but with international colleagues and allowing fresh results and insights to flow back and forth. This can only accelerate the pace of research into progressive multiple sclerosis both nationally and internationally. “I am reminded of the story of Professor Alan Thompson, Professor of Neurology in University College London and chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the International Progressive MS Alliance, of which I am a member. Alan's interest in progressive multiple sclerosis was piqued initially by the discovery, in the basement of a Dublin Hospital, of an empty room labeled ‘MS research’. This network promises to replace that empty room with a vibrant community of multiple sclerosis researchers. It will hasten the day when no more people have to bear the burdens of progressive multiple sclerosis. I am also impressed by the equal status that people with multiple sclerosis themselves will enjoy in that effort. Our own experiences and perspectives will enrich this initiative and the focus of its work.” MS Research Summer Scholarships Coinciding with the launch, the network is opening a call for budding multiple sclerosis researchers, at undergraduate or early postgraduate level, to apply for the first All-Ireland MS Research Network Research Summer Scholarships. Following a generous donation from Eamonn Haughton and Declan Smith, of Chemical Systems Control Ireland, the first scholarship will be awarded in 2021 to a successful candidate who is considering a multiple sclerosis-focused research career. Eamonn Haughton, Chemical Systems Control Ireland, said: “New therapies for multiple sclerosis will be built on state-of-the-art research. Funded junior researchers will spend time in research groups based in at least two of the participating organisations. It is hoped that the seeds sewn by this research will help to bring multiple sclerosis treatments to the next level.” For more information visit and for more details about the scholarship call see or follow on Twitter @aims_rn. -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair and Director of the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway, has been awarded a prestigious D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship from the Board of Trustees of the Ireland Canada University Foundation, a scholarship program which supports the development of connections between Canada and Ireland through online engagement.  The D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship facilitates critical connections over distance. This programme enables leading Irish and Canadian academics, researchers and thinkers to connect online, in a programme of activity designed to nurture and develop strong and fruitful collaborations which will enrich connections between both countries and the wider international community. Speaking about the award, Professor Dolan said: “I am delighted to have been awarded this highly prestigious D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship from the Board of Trustees of the Ireland Canada University Foundation. At a time when it is so important to feel connected with others, the programme will facilitate collaboration with academic colleagues in Canada. The particular focus of the Fellowship will be to promote Empathy education in Canada and Ireland which is a particular research interest of mine.” This award follows on from the launch of a new initiative last year to introduce Empathy education for secondary school students in Ireland.  The programme, Activating Social Empathy, is part of a suite of work undertaken by a team of researchers at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre NUI Galway that has developed a concrete basis for understanding empathy education among adolescents. A major focus of the UNESCO Chair’s work both nationally and internationally, is the role of empathy in the development of social understanding and its potential to enable young people to foster better social responsibility, civic behaviour and critically, action.  Professor Dolan is joint founder of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and Director of the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway, and holds the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, the first to be awarded in the Republic of Ireland. He is currently Co-Principal Investigator on a UN Global Study measuring the social impact of COVID 19 on youth world wide - the study involves over 100 countries and all UN Regions. For over 20 years, Professor Dolan has completed an extensive body of research on family issues including longitudinal research on adolescents, youth mental health, resilience and social support networks and has over 100 publications a wide range of academic publications including authored books and journals. His major research interests are Civic Engagement, Social Empathy, Family Support, Youth Mentoring, and Resilience. He has also extensive policy experience both nationally and internationally having worked with the Irish Government as well as UNESCO, UNICEF, and the United Nations Youth Office in New York, USA. As part of the fellowship, Professor Dolan, along with host Dr Derek Gladwin, Department of Language and Literacy Education at University of British Columbia, Canada will be delivering a formal online public lecture as a Beacon Fellow and a series of workshop events later this year. For more information on the D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship visit  -Ends-