Wednesday, 15 May 2013

NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics and the Career Development Centre will hold a networking breakfast on Tuesday, 21 May from 8-9am in the new Engineering Building in NUI Galway. Representatives from a range of companies will attend including Abbott, Fidelity Investments, SAP, Arup Consulting Engineers, Storm Technologies, Thermo King and IBM. This event will provide an opportunity for companies and alumni to meet the Dean of Engineering and Informatics, Professor Gerry Lyons, academic staff, course directors, Career Development Centre Staff and the Technology Transfer Office.  Employers will have the opportunity to discuss their organisation’s requirements regarding course content and student and graduate skills. Information will be available on graduate recruitment, placement opportunities, upcoming fairs and current research. Employers of engineers, large and small, are also invited to visit and view this world-class teaching and research facility. An optional tour of the new Engineering Building is being organised at 9am. John Hannon, Head of the Career Development Centre, NUI Galway said: “This event will enable the University to maintain and foster good relationships with employers and business leaders”. To attend the networking breakfast meeting email placement@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A new research project at NUI Galway aims to better understand the underlying causes of comfort eating, which may stem from childhood. Comfort or emotional eating happens when we are not hungry but perhaps in need of stress relief or a reward. NUI Galway researchers are conducting a study, which aims to examine the influence of emotional factors in childhood on comfort eating and weight. They have devised a questionnaire which investigates these issues, and will also be conducting individual interviews. Volunteers are being sought to take part in this study, the only requirement being that participants are over-18. “We’re hoping to explore the relationship between a range of factors, such as how people learned to cope with their emotions in childhood, or how people relate to others, and how this influences eating patterns and BMI in adulthood”, explains Roisín Finnegan, who is a Trainee Clinical Psychologist and carrying out this research under the supervision of Dr Jonathan Egan, Lecturer in Psychology at NUI Galway. The research is being funded by the Millennium Research Fund at NUI Galway. While the wide availability of convenience foods and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle are recognised as significant contributing factors to the spike in obesity rates, research is finding that psychosocial factors in childhood, such as abuse, lack of parental support, depression, may also play a role. “We believe that children growing up in an environment where they feel unable to express their emotions may turn to food as a source of comfort,” explains of Dr Jonathan Egan. “This pattern of coping with emotion through food continues into adulthood, and may well contribute to weight problems. These are just some of the factors we’re interested in investigating further as part of this research. We’re also interested in the concept of mindfulness, and how the ability to attend to how one is feeling in the present moment may act as an antidote to emotional eating.” For those interested in participating in this study, it will involve completing a questionnaire, taking part in an interview, or doing both, though it is not a necessity of the study that you take part in both. The questionnaire is a series of tick box questions, and hopefully should only take people 15 minutes to complete. Interviews will take place in Laois, Offaly, Longford or Westmeath. “It would be great if people could share their experience with us,” concluded Róisín. Those who wish to complete the questionnaire online should log onto https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/comforteating Participants can also complete the questionnaire in paper format by contacting Róisín on r.finnegan8@nuigalway.ie. Anyone interested in taking part in interview should express this through email also, and more detail will be provided. All participants’ data will be kept strictly confidential. -ends-

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

World leading theorist of urban studies to deliver keynote lecture As part of the 45th Conference of Irish Geographers, Professor David Harvey, a leading theorist in the field of urban studies, will deliver a keynote lecture on Friday, 17 May at 5.30pm in the Engineering Building, NUI Galway. David Harvey is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York (CUNY), Director of The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, and author of numerous books which have been widely translated. A leading social theorist of international standing, he is among the top 20 most cited authors in the humanities. Professor Harvey’s reflections on the importance of space and place and on global capitalism have attracted considerable attention across the humanities and social sciences. Hosted by NUI Galway, the 45th Conference of Irish Geographers, will take place from 16-18 of May. With approximately 300 delegates attending, the conference will be the largest national geographer’s conference to date. The event brings together leading geographers from all over the globe to discuss key geographical research issues including: marine spatial planning; community geographies; climate change modeling; contemporary perspectives on urban planning, on migration, and on tourism; sustainable consumption policies and practices; art and geography; space and identity politics; marine and coastal processes; geographies of food as well as the interdisciplinary needs of contemporary environmental research. Entire conference sessions will be dedicated to the internationally recognised key research areas within Geography at NUI Galway – Environmental Change, Geopolitics and Justice, Planning and Sustainability and Rural Studies. During the three-day event 150 papers will be presented displaying the breadth and depth of the discipline of Geography. Papers will address topical and controversial issues of relevance to Irish society. Mike Goodman from Kings College London will present a paper on ‘The Lie of the Lasagne: Galloping Transgressions and (Horse)Meaty Tropes’, while Cian O’Callaghan and Mark Boyle form NUI Maynooth will discuss ‘Capitalist crisis, ruins, and uneven development: Ireland’s Ghost estates’. Garret Duffy and his colleagues in Earth and Ocean Science in NUI Galway will examine the ‘Origin of seabed heterogeneity around Inverin Bank: implications for Galway Bay fish farm siting’. One of the most supported sessions at this year’s conference will honour the lifework of one of the most influential geographers of his generation, Neil Smith on Friday, 17 May. Given Neil’s recent passing, the session connects to his lifework with papers addressing the broad remit of his writing and activism. The day-long session will culminate in the launch of the Neil Smith Graduate Research Award, which is designed to celebrate Neil’s legacy by encouraging continued graduate research in the areas of geopolitics, development and social and environmental justice. The session is being organised by the Geopolitics and Justice Research Cluster in Geography at NUI Galway. Cluster leader and session organiser, John Morrissey, said: “Neil was an inspirational and brilliant colleague, and to have such an array of contributory papers from across the UK, Ireland and France in a day-long session in Neil’s honour, is a great testament to not only Neil as a person but to the huge legacy and continued relevancy of his life’s work.” Chair of the Conference and President of the Geographical Society of Ireland, Dr Frances Fahy said: “We in Geography at NUI Galway are honoured to be hosting the 45th Conference of Irish Geographers, particularly as it caps off a year of celebrating 50 years of Geography within our University. As geographers we have the capacity not only to reflect but also to shape wider discourses; this endeavour is mirrored in our conference theme for 2013 – Transformative Geographies: Critical Reflections on Environment, Sustainability and Governmentality.” This year’s conference is being held in conjunction with the Galway Dance Days programme and as a result a range of innovative workshops and unique performances are taking place throughout the three days of the conference. Registration for the Conference is now closed but tickets are still available for some of the Galway Dance Days performances, please contact the Town Hall Theatre at www.THT.ie or 091 569777. For more information email frances.fahy@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The LLM in Public Law programme at the School of Law, NUI Galway, will host the 5th Annual Conference of the Irish Society of Comparative Law from 24-25 May. Over 50 legal academics and practitioners from Ireland, other European countries, the U.S., Uganda, Japan and China will present papers at the conference on the overarching theme of comparative public law. Topics covered throughout the conference will include: children in rainbow families; equality in healthcare; cyberbullying; money laundering; and the question of constitutional rights for human-animal hybrids and chimeras. Professor Brice Dickson from Queens University Belfast will present a keynote paper entitled ‘The Irish Supreme Court in Comparative Perspective’ to which former Supreme Court Judge, the Hon Catherine McGuinness, who is an Adjunct Professor of Law at NUI Galway and also the newly appointed Chair of the University’s Governing Authority, will respond.  The other keynote speaker will be Professor Susan Farran of the University of Northumbria, who will present a paper entitled ‘The age of Empire. Again: critical thoughts on legal imperialism’. Marie McGonagle, Director of the LLM in Public Law programme at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome so many legal scholars from all over the world to Galway. It will be a great opportunity for our Masters and PhD students to participate with them and learn of the work they are doing on such varied topics in very different jurisdictions.”   For more information on the programme and on registration please visit http://conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=218.  -ENDS-

Thursday, 16 May 2013

All recent graduates currently seeking employment should come along to a unique graduate support event titled ‘Kick Start your Job Search’ in NUI Galway on Thursday, 30 May from 9.30am to 2.30pm in IT 125G in the Information Technology Building.  This free event, organised by the Career Development Centre is targeted at NUI Galway graduates and final year students, but all are welcome to attend. Information on emerging employment areas, innovative job search strategies and tips on how to stay motivated, are just some of the topics that will be covered by a panel of experts. Graduates and students will also be able to get an employer’s perspective on how to stand out from the crowd; this workshop will be run by local multi-national SAP. Attendees are also encouraged to bring along their CVs for an interactive workshop. Professional bodies will be present for a networking event after the workshops including JobBridge (The national internship scheme), Galway County & City Enterprise Board, and Engineers Ireland. Information will also be available on postgraduate study options at NUI Galway. “We look forward to continuing our support to our alumni through this unique event and strongly encourage those who are looking for new ways to market themselves to come along and ‘kick start’ their job search” said John Hannon, Head of the Career Development Centre, NUI Galway. Details of the full programme are available on www.nuigalway.ie/careers . For further details contact the NUI Galway Career Development Centre on 091 493589 or email pamela.devins@nuigalway.ie Ends

Friday, 17 May 2013

This week, the Botany and Plant Science Discipline in NUI Galway hosted the Irish Plant Scientists Association Meeting (IPSAM2013), where up to 100 Irish plant scientists met to discuss their research and its importance for future sustainable development in Ireland and internationally.  Plants and plant derived products are essential to human life on earth. Plants supply food, energy, health and medicines, and also supply industry with raw materials and are a vital component of our natural environment. People are not only dependent on plants for food, but also as fodder for livestock and fuel for energy. All of the coal, gas and oil reserves are derived from photosynthetic organisms (e.g. plants) that have decomposed over millions of years. In addition, people are dependent on plants to make clothes, paper, paints, oils, medicines, timber, and biodegradable plastics, among many other things. Although underappreciated by policymakers, the Irish economy, society and environment is completely reliant on products (and services) derived directly and indirectly from plants for its existence.  Professor Charles Spillane, Head of Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway, said: “The annual IPSAM meeting is a key annual event that brings together plant scientists across Ireland’s universities and research centers. These scientists are studying plants from many different perspectives including both fundamental and applied topics such as plant chemistry and genetics, paleobotany and climate change, algal and lichen biology, crop and soil science, forestry and tree biology, plant-derived medicines, biodiversity and ecology.” Keynote speakers at the IPSAM2013 included Professor Liam Dolan from University of Oxford who presented the latest findings regarding how root biology evolution allowed plants to move from aquatic environments to the land over 450 million years ago. Professor Dolan also highlighted how such fundamental "blue skies" research on plant roots is informing new applied science strategies to double the yields of crop plants to meet the doubling of food production that is necessary by 2050. In addition, keynote speaker Professor Bob Crawford from the University of St Andrews discussed the types of physiological constraints that limit the geographic distribution of different plant species, a key issue facing humanity in the face of climate change impacts on both wild and cultivated plants.  The IPSAM 2013 Conference was sponsored by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, Bord Bia, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), New Phytologist and QIAGEN. For more details on IPSAM2013 visit www.ipsam.org Also promoting global awareness of the importance of plants, the second international ‘Fascination of Plants Day’ will take place across Ireland on Saturday, 18 May. Dr Zoe Popper from NUI Galway Botany and Plant Science is the National Coordinator of Fascination of Plants Day. Facilitated by the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO), of which NUI Galway is a member institution, the goal of this activity is to get as many people and policymakers as possible worldwide fascinated by plants and to appreciate how humanity is completely dependent on plants for its survival. For more information on ‘Fascination of Plants Day’ visit www.plantday12.eu/ or contact Dr Zoe Popper at zoe.popper@nuigalway.ie or 091 495431. -ENDS-

Friday, 17 May 2013

New research project will analyse samples dating back to 1994 Lack of public awareness of a new cancer epidemic is causing lasting damage to patients, delegates at symposium on head and neck cancer in NUI Galway heard today. Professor Ivan Keogh, Head of the Academic Department of Otorhinolaryngology at NUI Galway and Consultant Otolaryngologist at Galway University Hospitals, said that head and neck cancers related to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are rising dramatically and are projected to surpass cervical cancer by 2020. “There is a changing nature in the cause of head and neck cancers from traditional heavy smoking and drinking use to HPV. While the survival rate for the latter if very good, these cancers are very disfiguring. Often, treated patients have swallowing and speech problems. We need an awareness campaign so that individuals, as well as their GPs and dentists to become aware of the early symptoms”, said surgeon Professor Keogh, who has seen first-hand the numbers of cases rise dramatically in his clinic. At the symposium, Dr Linda Sharp, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist with the National Cancer Registry Ireland, announced a new project involving the HRB funded Irish Cervical Screening Research Consortium collaboration, CERVIVA, in partnership with surgeons and pathologists. Commencing in autumn 2013, the project will see a major investigation of HPV in squamous cell carcinomas of the oropharynx, oral cavity and larynx diagnosed since 1994. This will provide the first population-based data on the epidemiology of HPV infection in head and neck cancer in the Republic of Ireland. In Ireland, head and neck cancers are the 6th most common cancer in men and 16th most common in women. With the incidence of HPV-related head and neck cancer more likely to occur in men than women it raises the debate about vaccinating boys against this sexually-transmitted virus, as is now taking place in Australia. “Australia and Canada are already rolling out vaccination programmes for boys. Ireland will need to consider it’s position on this over the near future and take a reasoned look at all the factors involved”, said co-organiser, Mr Tony O’Connor, Consultant Otolaryngologist, Bon Secours Hospital, Galway. The event also heard from internationally-renowned keynote speakers from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution. Dr Sara Pai and Dr William Westra, shared their experiences of the cancer which has now been deemed an ‘epidemic’ by the American Cancer Society. Dr Brenda Corcoran, HSE National Immunisation Office, concluded the symposium. The symposium was organised by NUI Galway’s Academic Department of Otorhinolaryngology and School of Economics, the event is funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) as part of its Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme (KEDS). -ends-

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The number of deaths caused by smoking in the home could be comparable to the numbers of fatalities from road traffic collisions, according to new research led by NUI Galway and funded under the EPA’s STRIVE Research Programme. ‘Indoor Air Pollution and Health’ is a new in-depth study of air pollution in homes and shows that the concentration of particulate pollution in the homes of smokers who smoke indoors is six times higher than the World Health Organisation’s recommendation for general outdoor air quality. This research examined the health impacts of air pollution in homes.  It presents new information on levels of indoor air pollutants in homes using solid fuels for heating or cooking and in homes that have a resident smoker. The report highlights the need for public health policy and research professionals to develop interventions to address this. The research was completed by NUI Galway and researchers at the University of Aberdeen, the Institute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh and the University of Birmingham. Dr Marie Coggins, NUI, Galway explains: “Our research shows that air quality in homes using the solid fuels coal, wood, peat and gas is mostly comparable to that of outdoor air, however smoking at home creates much greater levels of air pollutants. Levels of particulate pollution were up to 17 times levels found outdoors. The impact of exposure to such levels, on vulnerable groups such as children, in homes where smoking occurs indoors needs urgent action.” The average European spends 90% of their time indoors so the quality of the air people breathe plays a significant role in their health and well-being. Over the last few decades there have been many advances in the design and construction of domestic dwellings. As a result, the amount of air entering and leaving a typical building is estimated to be 10 times lower now compared to 30 years ago. Dara Lynott, EPA Deputy Director General said: “The environment and health are intrinsically linked and this innovative research project on indoor air pollution aims to help protect both. This research, funded under the EPA’s STRIVE Research Programme, has identified air pollutants in homes as one of the key factors related to the exacerbation of respiratory illnesses.  It will help public health policy and research professionals to develop interventions.” The report authors have called for improved national survey campaigns to determine what proportion of the population is exposed to environmental tobacco smoke at home.  Key recommendations include the following: -          A co-ordinated national campaign to educate smokers and non-smokers about the health effects from smoking at home and the promotion of smoke-free homes. -          More education as to the health effects of second hand smoke in the home as a means of reducing exposures. -          Greater focus on finding ways to encourage smokers to move towards smoke- free homes. Welcoming the report Professor Luke Clancy, Director General, TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland said:  “It is very reassuring to find that Indoor Pollution in Ireland is very low even where coal, peat or gas is used but the findings about Secondhand Smoke are very worrying. The finding that particle load is almost 10 times the allowable level for healthy breathing in homes where smoking occurs is disappointing, especially since we know of some 4000 harmful chemicals that exist in tobacco smoke and we also know that over 40% of Irish children are exposed to Secondhand Smoke in Ireland. Action is needed to encourage people not to smoke or at least not to subject others to the health risks associated with inhaling other people’s smoke.”  -ends- http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/research/health/iapahreportmcoggins.html  

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The eleventh Galway Symposium on Higher Education will take place at NUI Galway on Friday, 7 June in Áras Moyola. The symposium, entitled ‘Thinking Differently’ – New Curricula, New Skills in Higher Education, will be comprised of papers, short presentations, and workshops. The Symposium will question the kind of degree and curricula most relevant to graduates in this age of mass higher education and what particular attributes and skills graduates should have. Workshop sessions will provide participants with opportunities to experiment with course design with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity and active learning. There will also be a showcase of innovations in Teaching and Learning, locally and nationally. Keynote speakers will include: Professor Marijk van der Wende, University College Amsterdam, who will describe a model for the renewal of the idea of the ‘Liberal Arts and Sciences’; Dr Camille Kandiko, King’s College London, will present an overview of models of curricular redesign that have emerged in institutions across the world in recent years; Professor Derek Raine, Leicester University, will show how they radically reconceptualised its undergraduate Science programme around interdisciplinarity and higher levels of student intellectual engagement; Dr Alastair Robertson, Higher Education Academy, will discuss key ideas on graduate attributes; and Dr Vicky Gunn, University of Glasgow, will describe the efforts her institute use to involve students in the support and development of graduate attributes. Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn, Director of Centre for Excellence and Teaching (CELT) at NUI Galway said: “This is a period of rapid change for higher education and NUI Galway, in parallel with other research-led institutions, is exploring new models of learning and teaching. This event will examine the question as to what kinds of degree programmes are best suited to the needs of students, employers and wider society. We are delighted to welcome some key international experts in the field of curriculum design and institutional change as presenters at the event and we look forward to much stimulating debate and discussion.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

NUI Galway is set to become the first university in Ireland to provide postgraduate training to Masters level (MSc) in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in a unique community partnership with the heart and stroke charity Croí, the West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation. Croí has led the development of this programme through a collaboration with industry partners Kerry Group and MSD Ireland; HSE West and NUI Galway. The University is currently recruiting its first intake of students to the one year full-time in service course, due to commence in September of this year. Programme Director for the new Masters course in Preventive Cardiology, which also has a postgraduate Diploma stream, Dr Gerard Flaherty, who has recently been appointed Honorary Academic Director at the new Croí Heart and Stroke Centre, Galway says; “With all of the expensive high technology interventions in medicine, it is easy to neglect the fundamentals of prevention, yet the evidence for cardiovascular disease prevention is compelling despite the challenges of translating it into effective patient care.” This innovative postgraduate course is only one of two of its kind in the world and the collaboration with Croí makes it unique. The founder course at Imperial College London is fully supportive of the NUI Galway programme. Assistant Course Director of the Galway programme, Jenni Jones, recently joined Croí from Imperial College London, where she was Programme Leader for their Masters in Preventive Cardiology course. Commenting on the partnership, Croí CEO Neil Johnson, said: “This exciting collaboration will contribute significantly to translating scientific evidence to practice in reducing mortality and morbidity from chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Furthermore, the programme strengthens the links between Croí and the School of Medicine at NUI Galway where earlier this year five members of the Croí Health Team were awarded Honorary Clinical Fellowships for their contribution to medical education through the delivery of special study modules to medical students.” This new educational development at NUI Galway comes about due to the success of the Croí MyAction lifestyle and behavioural change programme which was established in Galway by Croí almost five years ago. Since then, thousands of individuals at risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes have benefited from changes to their lifestyle in terms of diet, weight, exercise, blood pressure and cholesterol reduction. “We believe that for Irish healthcare professionals to have access to a Masters in Preventive Cardiology will ultimately be of enormous benefit to Irish patients” said Mairead McCaul of MSD who also announced their sponsorship of a bursary fund for the programme. “We are very pleased to be involved in this partnership and to further enhance our commitment to Croí and NUI Galway. We are delighted to announce that successful applicants to the Masters programme can apply through Croí for the MSD Preventive Cardiology Bursary.” Announcing details of the new postgraduate programme, Dr Flaherty said: “This course will equip a diverse array of healthcare workers with the knowledge and practical skills required to implement the evidence-based international guidelines in clinical practice. The course will comprise three core modules to be completed in semester 1 and one of three elective advanced modules in semester 2. All of the teaching will be delivered in the state-of-the-art Croí Heart and Stroke Centre in Galway. Masters candidates will also complete a supervised research project in semester 2 and submit a ready-for-publication dissertation by an August deadline.” Dr Flaherty added: “It is expected that the course will appeal to doctors, nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, sports scientists, healthcare managers, health promotion graduates and health economists, reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of preventive cardiology.” The new Masters in Preventive Cardiology programme is being supported by an honorary advisory council which is comprised of experts in areas such as cardiology, endocrinology, obesity, stroke, medical education and industry. Among its membership is Galway businessman Pádraig Ó’Céidigh who has recently spoken publicly of his own heart health issues. ENDS

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Creativity, Research and Innovation topic at Coimbra Conference Video links to all speeches at the 2013 Coimbra Group Annual Conference are available below NUI Galway has announced that the 2013 Coimbra Group Annual Conference will be addressed by President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and will take place from 22 - 24 May at the University. The theme of this year’s conference is Creativity, Research and Innovation in Universities. Founded in 1985 and formally constituted by Charter in 1987, the Coimbra Group is an association of long-established European multidisciplinary universities of high international standard. NUI Galway is a long-standing member of the Coimbra Group and last hosted the Coimbra Group annual conference in 1988, twenty-five years ago. Other members include leading institutions such as University of Edinburgh, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Università di Bologna, Saint Petersburg State University and Trinity College Dublin. The Coimbra Group is committed to creating special academic and cultural ties in order to promote, for the benefit of its members, internationalisation, academic collaboration, excellence in learning and research, and service to society. It is also the purpose of the Group to influence European educational policy and to develop best practice through mutual exchange of experience. The symposium ‘Creativity, Research and Innovation in Universities’ on Friday, 24 May, will include a keynote address by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins. Other keynote speeches and panel discussions on the day will include contributions from: Commissioner Maire Geoghegan Quinn, European Commissioner for Research,  Innovation & Science Professor Carol Becker, Dean of the Arts, Columbia University, New York Professor Joep  Leerssen, Professor of Modern European Languages, Universiteit van Amsterdam Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland & Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “NUI Galway is a proud member of the Coimbra Group since 1986. As a university on the western edge of Europe we value deeply the rich network of connections and links which the Group has fostered to promote excellence in scholarship, research and service to society. It is particularlyfitting that the conference returns to Galway in the year in which Ireland holds the Presidency of the European Union and at a time when the conference theme of Creativity, Research & Innovation in Universities could not be more relevant or timely for our European universities.” Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation & Science, who will speak at the event, said: “If we want to tackle our biggest societal challenges and develop technology-based business, we need an excellent science base and we need to train creative graduates and foster critical and innovative mind-sets. In my view, universities should become 'innovation centres' for their region. They should train and retrain the workforce in cooperation with industry. Mobility between industry and academia should become the norm.” Speaking in advance of the conference, Dorothy Kelly, Chair of the Coimbra Group Executive Board, commented: “We are delighted to be revisiting NUI Galway after 25 years. This year the theme is a reflection of the central role universities play in societal progress and wellbeing as open, diverse and critical spaces for the pursuit of knowledge something we look forward to discussing at length. We are particularly honoured this year to welcome to our meetings both the President of the Republic of Ireland, Dr Michael Higgins, and the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation & Science, Maire Geoghegan Quinn, as we hold our 29th General Assembly in Ireland and under the Irish presidency of the European Union.” To view President Higgins' speech at the 2013 Coimbra Group Annual Conference click here Videos from Coimbra Conference President of Ireland, Dr Michael D. Higgins (43 minutes) Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science (22 minutes) Professor Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty and Professor of the Arts at Columbia University School of the Arts, New York (19 minutes) Professor Joep Leerssen, Professor of Modern European Literature, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (25 minutes) Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland & Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland(29 minutes)    ENDS

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

On Tuesday, 28 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research at NUI Galway will host a Partnership Working Meeting with the WHO Regional Office for Europe. This meeting will focus on WHO priorities and collaborative actions in the field of Health Promotion including; the Health 2020 European health policy framework for action across governments and society to improve health and wellbeing of populations and reduce health inequalities; and the implementation of the European Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases 2012-2016.  The event will be addressed by leading Health Promotion experts from: WHO Regional Office for Europe; EuroHealthNet; International Union for Health Promotion and Education; the Department of Health, Health Service Executive; and the Public Health Institute in Ireland.  Presentations will be given by the directors of WHO Collaborating Centres in Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the UK.  The Health 2020 policy responds to the changing context for population health in Europe and the growing health inequities within and between countries. “WHO is committed to strengthening efforts for improving the health of citizens and the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the European region. Within the Health 2020 policy framework, specific actions are identified to which Member States, WHO and partners can commit themselves over the coming years”: says Dr Gauden Galea, Director of Noncommunicable Diseases and Health Promotion at WHO Europe, who will address the meeting. Professor Margaret Barry, Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research at NUI Galway, said: “This Partnership Working Meeting provides an important opportunity for WHO Collaborating Centres to provide the necessary research to support the implementation of new policy frameworks for promoting health and wellbeing in the European region.” OnWednesday, 29 May,NUI Galway will also host the 17th Annual Health Promotion conference,entitled Health in All Policies: Strengthening Multisectoral Health Promotion in an Irish Context. Speakers will include: Dr Erio Ziglio, Head of the European Office for Investment for Health and Development, WHO Regional Office for Europe           WHO European Strategy Health 2020 Dr Stephanie O Keeffe, Director of the Health and Wellbeing Programme, Department of Health, Ireland           New Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing Margaret Whitehead, Professor of Public Health at the University of Liverpool, England           Paddling Upstream? Obstacles and opportunities for tackling inequalities in health “The conference provides an opportunity to discuss global, national and local approaches for promoting health and wellbeing across different sectors”, said Dr Michal Molcho, Health Promotion at NUI Galway and Chair of this year’s conference. For more information visit www.nuigalway.ie/hprc. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

NUI Galway has today (22 May) announced the attainment of the global AMBA accreditation for its MBA programme offered in the School of Business and Economics. AMBA provide the only dedicated accreditation regime for MBA Programmes and now positions NUI Galway against the best worldwide. The Association of MBAs (AMBA) accreditation is internationally recognised as the global standard for all MBA programmes. AMBA accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement in MBA education and is earned only by the best programmes. AMBA accredits 200 Schools in over 70 countries.  “The number of MBA qualifications available worldwide is now in the thousands, but only a small percentage of these would achieve accreditation if they were submitted to our rigorous international criteria” says Mark Stoddard, Accreditation Manager at AMBA. The NUI Galway MBA is one of the leading management development programmes in the country. A general management programme which enhances and develops business and management capabilities while preparing students for strategic leadership roles, the programme places an emphasis on strategic decision making and develops practical and professional skills for success in increasingly complex environments. Speaking about the achievement, Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Programme Director, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The NUI Galway MBA this year celebrates its 40th anniversary and it is fitting that we successfully attained AMBA accreditation demonstrating the world-class quality of our MBA programme. Employers and top business recruiters looking to acquire the best managers and future business leaders know that graduates of the AMBA accredited programmes have received the highest quality management education. We are proud to now confirm that to recruit a graduate from the NUI Galway MBA is to recruit top talent in Ireland.” Dr McCarthy added: “We know for students, the decision to study an MBA represents a major commitment, both in terms of time and money. This AMBA accreditation ensures that students' investments are rewarded with the finest MBA education available. We have constant engagement with the business community and our programme reflects and aligns with developments in industry both nationally and internationally. Our class sizes are kept small, our lecturers are leading experts in their respective fields and keep teaching relevant to the changing demands of the business world which overall results in greater one to one attention and learning experience.” Graduates of the NUI Galway Executive MBA have significantly advanced their careers with many being promoted, starting their own business, or changing careers after completing the programme. Applications for the next programme will be accepted from September 2013. Further information on the Executive MBA at NUI Galway is available at http://www.cairnes.nuigalway.ie/mba/ ENDS

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

New method of polymerisation creates possibilities for medical devices, drug delivery, elastics and adhesives A new slow-motion method of controlling the synthesis of polymers, which takes inspiration from both trees and Celtic Knots, opens up new possibilities in areas including medical devices, drug delivery, elastics and adhesives. Scientists at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) in the National University of Ireland Galway have just published their breakthrough polymerization method in Nature Communications. Their new polymerization technique allows for the easy creation of new complex, multi-functional, branched compounds. The research team was led by NFB’s Dr Wenxin Wang at the National University of Ireland Galway, who said: “The versatility of our synthesis process could allow us to tailor polymer properties, such as structure, functionality, strength, size, density and degradation - with previously unimaginable ease.” The researchers took inspiration from ancient arts, and use their new technique to build up ‘Celtic Knots’. These materials have chains that only link to themselves in an interlaced pattern. In addition, the new technique can also create hyper-branching polymers, which branch and spread outwards like trees. Polymers are a broad class of natural and synthetic compounds, built up of many parts known as monomers, which connect together in fast growing chains. Until now, creating more complex branched polymers, known as dendrimers (from the Greek word “dendron” meaning “tree”), has been a labour intensive and time consuming process.   Now, for the first time, “dendritic” or tree like polymers have been synthesised in bulk, with branch points after every few monomers of the build process. This allows a far higher degree of branching than previously obtainable, and opens up new possibilities for the use of polymers. The new process developed by the team, in collaboration with Dr Julien Poly from the Institut de Science des Matériaux de Mulhouse, France, is called ‘vinyl oligomer combination’. In effect the process allows a simple “one-pot” procedure that leads to easy up-scale of the process.The expectation is that these intricate woven and branched polymers will be cheap to produce and high in quality, as the technique is fully scalable. Dr Wenxin Wang is trying to uncover therapies for diseases such as diabetic ulcers and Epidermolysis Bullosa, which causes chronic skin conditions: “We are currently investigating the use of these new materials for biomedical applications such as drug/gene delivery, cross linkable hydrogel materials and skin adhesives. However, in reality this synthesis method could be used for a wide range of materials outside the biomedical field.” Dr Wenxin Wang continued: “It is interesting to note the period of difficulty often encountered with break through developments. For example, the road to acceptance of dendrimer materials was long and winding. Because this work contradicts long-standing theories about polymerization, we too have faced the challenge of acceptance. Finally, researchers are seeing the importance of these materials, and the ease at which new structures can be synthesized. Although these are early steps, we are looking forward to seeing the future realization of these structures in a wide range of applications.” The research, funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the Health Research Board (HRB), DEBRA Ireland and DEBRA Austria is published in Nature Communications journal. -ends-

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Parents of children with autism are invited to a conference at NUI Galway on 11-12 June to share their experiences and hear the latest research and practical advice. With estimates that one in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder, the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the US science and advocacy group Autism Speaks, is making parents a particular focus of this the 2nd International Autism Conference. The event ‘Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Research to Practice’ will feature keynote talks, as well as workshops aimed at providing parents, practitioners, teachers and researchers, with the latest evidence-based approaches to diagnosis, clinical management and adult service provision. The conference will place a special emphasis on providing practical solutions for parents struggling with autism on a daily basis. Workshops will be delivered on managing behaviour in the home, sleep, toileting, interventions for non verbal, minimally verbal and verbal children and how to manage transitions effectively. There will be an emphasis on the needs of adolescents and adults with autism, as Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of ICAN, explains: “Much of the research literature to date focuses on the needs of young children with little, if any, discussion paid to the needs of adolescents. For many parents, they are either currently dealing with teenagers challenged with autism, or are anticipating this new phase in a few short years. We are hosting a practical workshop as part of the conference on ‘Adolescence, growing up and sexuality.” Professor Peter Gerhardt from the McCarton School, New York, will also deliver an address focusing on issues relating to employment, quality of life and inclusion for adults on the autism spectrum.  The conference will also be highly relevant to the needs of practitioners and teachers. Professor Susan Swedo, of the National Institute of Mental Health in the US, will update delegates on the latest changes to the diagnostic categorisations of autism. Professor Deborah Fein from the University of Connecticut will discuss what determines best outcomes for children on the autism spectrum, while Professor Richard Hastings from Bangor University will discuss what the research is telling us in relation to effective autism interventions. Practical workshops addressing mood, anxiety, ADHD and the role of medication and from early signs through to diagnosis will also be provided. “Autism has become a national epidemic. This conference will bring the worlds leading experts in diagnosis, clinical management and education to NUI Galway as well as catering for the needs of parents,” said Dr Leader. “International evidence indicates an alarming rise in the prevalence of autism, as reflected in the recent data from the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which estimates that one in 88 children, including one in 54 boys, has an autism spectrum disorder.” “By way of comparison, these estimates represent more children currently diagnosed with autism than diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and Down syndrome combined.” To register for the conference visit http://www.conference.ie. A special early booking fee is available until 4 June. -ends-

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD, has today announced Government funding through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) of €6.9 million encompassing 62 research awards. NUI Galway received 8 of these awards to a total value of almost €1 million. The investment is being made through SFI’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme, in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland.  Minister Sherlock said, “The TIDA programme focuses on commercially relevant research projects. It will enable numerous research teams to take the first steps in developing new discoveries and inventions with commercial potential.” Commenting on the awards, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway researchers are taking on some of the greatest challenges of our times. With today’s announcement, we will go further to commercialise and exploit opportunities arising from our research to deliver excellent research with impact and contribute to economic development.” The eight NUI Galway projects funded under the Programme and their leaders are: Dr Stephen Cunningham, Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) Novel direct detection of early bacterial infection for bovine mastitis Dr Cunningham will develop a method for the early detection and screening of bacterial infection for bovine mastitis. Effective control of mastitis to ensure milk quality is an ongoing challenge facing the dairy industry. The basis of detection is focused on the use of surface coat polysaccharides of the mastitis pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, which could be adapted for individual and continuous in-line monitoring of herd milk production. Professor Stefan Decker, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) Feasibility study into the social semantic journalism Professor Decker will develop a Semantic Web assistant for journalists or news organisations, creating breaking news stories by sourcing, aggregating, filtering and verifying User-Generated Content (UGC) from various social media platforms, integrate them and place a structure on them in order to make it machine readable and therefore more easily searchable and verifiable. Currently, this is done manually and is a time-consuming and labour-intensive process for media organisations. Professor Manfred Hauswirth, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) Research, Design, and development of a demonstrator integrating private commercial data, Public Sector data and geographic mapping data with a simple visual user interface to support retail business planning Professor Hauswirth is developing software which will integrate public and private data with a simple and intuitive user interface to support retail business planning. There is a huge potential in leveraging existing internal private commercial data, public sector data, and geographic mapping data to decrease costs and improve quality of decision making in the context of planning, managing, and developing a retail business going forward. There is a vast amount of data available but the fundamental challenge is that it is fragmented, difficult to find and consolidate in order to make it meaningful. Dr Donal Leech, School of Chemistry Development of a biological oxygen demand monitoring system for wastewaters Dr Leech is applying his TIDA award to develop an in-situ sensor for measurement of the level of dissolved oxygen in waste water treatment plants.  Biochemical oxygen demand or BOD is widely used as an indication of the organic quality of water. It refers to the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological organisms in a body of water to break down organic material present in a given water sample. The standard BOD test can take up to 5 days and there is thus a real need for an in-situ, real time measurement which is the focus of this proposal.  Professor Paul Murphy, School of Chemistry New macrocyclic peptidomimetics with potential in cancer therapy Professor Murphy has developed a compound to inhibit proteins which are involved in the progression of cancer. The project deals with an unmet clinical need in targeting a protein called Mcl-1(myeloid cell leukemia-1). There are very few potent inhibitors of Mcl-1 identified to date and Mcl-1 is a very important target. Dr Thomas Ritter, Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) Regulating immunogenicity and tolerogenicity through cell surface glycosylation (Acronym: GlycoShield) Dr Ritter is evaluating the use of glyco engineered cells to assess their ability to suppress immune response from host cells during tissue or organ transplantation. Glyco engineering involves coating the cell surface with carbohydrates that are recognised by the host recipient as self, ensuring that cell rejection does not occur. This method will permit researchers, clinicians and industries to perform transplants with no adverse immune reaction from the host and will have wider implications on the engineering of immune-tolerant tissue transplants. Professor Charles Spillane, Plant & AgriBioscience Centre (PABC) Application of unique lineage-specific orphan gene cassettes to confer drought stress tolerance in crop plants of commercial importance. Professor Spillane is using his TIDA award to develop genetically-modified crops which are tolerant to drought. He has identified unique lineage-specific genes in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana which are tolerant to drought. The TIDA award will enable him to determine if these genes can be deployed and commercially developed across multiple crop species.  Dr Eva Szegezdi, National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) Development of Ex Vivo Diagnostic Multivariate Index Assay for Prediction of Treatment Efficacy in Acute Leukemias Dr Szegezdi is developing a theranostic assay for use in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).  AML is a heterogeneous and aggressive disease and the current mainstream therapy is unsatisfactory. Refractory and relapsed disease is a major problem that occurs in 70-80% of AML patients. Although a number of potential drugs exist, there are no tools to aid the decision of which drug combinations may be effective and safe in a given patient. The assay under development is based on the extraction of bone marrow from the patient, and testing of a series of chemotherapeutic drugs on the bone marrow ex-vivo. This will enable the testing of medications for possible reactions and the tailoring of optimum treatments based on the test results. The TIDA Programme Minister Sherlock concluded by outlining the thinking behind these awards. “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to support the commercialisation of excellent research and ultimately help to create the quality sustainable jobs we need. These 62 TIDA awards will release vital funding to allow the development of early discoveries and inventions with commercial potential, thereby feeding into our Action Plan.” The Director General of SFI, Professor Mark Ferguson, said, “As set out in Agenda 2020, one of SFI’s strategic objectives is to become the best scientific funding agency in the world at creating impact from excellent research and demonstrating clear value for our research investment. Each submitted project has been through a rigorous review process and ultimate selection was on the basis of the quality and novelty of the proposed innovation, its potential impact, and its fit with the National Research Prioritisation areas. Additionally, the commercial expertise that Enterprise Ireland brought to the TIDA selection process played a key role in further underpinning the market potential of the award recipients.” Incorporated into the TIDA programme is an entrepreneurship training course to consolidate and intensify the entrepreneurial skills of postdoctoral researchers active in SFI funded research labs. This course, which will support over 100 personnel, is designed to develop the skills necessary for SFI funded researchers to assess the market for potential commercial developments from research discoveries. It is also designed to create a network of researchers with business acumen who will interact regularly with each other, with SFI, Enterprise Ireland and Ireland’s Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) established across the higher education institutes -ends-

Thursday, 23 May 2013

NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and Galway’s Community Bike Workshop, An Mheitheal Rothar, are running a competition for an outdoor mural. The competition is open to those aged between 12-24 from schools, art colleges, youth or other groups, and individuals. The the winning design will be painted on the exterior of the community workshop, The Ecospace, based at Earl’s Island. The selected designs will be painted in the first two weeks in June by a professional artist, on the exterior of the Ecospace. The completed mural will be launched on Sunday, 16 June as part of the opening weekend of National Bike Week 2013 (15-23 June). The winning design(s) will be chosen on the merit of its quality and relevance by The Ecology Society, An Mheitheal Rothar and the selected artist. The winner or winning group will have their design professionally illustrated and painted by the artist. They will also receive a prize of a participatory workshop with the artist to paint part of the mural. Paul O’Donnell, Auditor of NUI Galway’s Ecology Society, said: “We invite the submissions to be as creative as possible and make use of the ability to paint onto the double door entrance to the workshop as well as other features such as the gable end of the building which is 4.5 metres tall at the peak. Groups are more than welcome to contact us to visit the space in person.” Designs can be submitted electronically in a digital format, hand-drawn or painted with most formats will be taken as long as the dimensions of the building are considered. Entrants must be aged between 12 and 24 on the closing date for submissions, Sunday, 2 June at 6pm. Submissions should reflect the themes of the workshop including: cycling, and a vibrant culture around cycling; community based action on climate change; and education and awareness of the environment. An Mheitheal Rothar (The Bicycle Community) is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit bicycle workshop, providing a free practical facility to the Galway community for bicycle maintenance and repairs. Their aim is to encourage a culture of cycling in Galway City by establishing a practical facility and social hub which will support a strong community and promote the health and environmental benefits of cycling. The Ecospace is also the home of NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and is a participatory community space encouraging each individual visiting to be a creative participant while there, resulting in a dynamic and friendly atmosphere, where community project ideas are supported and can take shape. The mural is part of a wider series of community-based events being organised by NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and An Mheitheal Rothar called ‘Be the Chainge!’ and is part funded by the European Commission through the Youth in Action Programme. For images and dimensions of the exterior of the The Ecospace visit https://www.facebook.com/AnMheithealRothar, or contact 091 494347 or an.mheitheal.rothar@gmail.com. -ENDS-

Monday, 27 May 2013

Swim Ireland Teams Up with NUI Galway to Pioneer Ground Breaking Performance Analysis Technology Swim Ireland has teamed up with NUI Galway with a view to developing a new high performance analysis system for competitive swimming. The development work is well under way on the new system which utilises innovative kinematic sensing technology. The new technology which is in test mode is being designed to deliver performance information in real time both to the swimmer and his/her coach. The technology is the brainchild of PhD student Robert Mooney who is a former Swim Ireland employee. The development team is led by Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin of NUI Galway’s Discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Funding for the research is being provided both by Swim Ireland and by the Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme. It is hoped to have the prototype system up and running by early 2014. Once developed, the system will be tested on elite Irish swimmers to measure, record and track their technical improvements achieved with training. Athletes to be tested will include swimmers based at the recently established Swim Ireland Connacht Performance Centre, based at the Kingfisher facility on the NUI Galway campus and which was officially launched last November. Lead researcher Robert Mooney commented: “A coach can often observe where improvements need to be made, but having hard evidence to back this up is key. We want to facilitate a new approach to swimming coaching, allowing for improved analysis of stroke mechanics, race performance and energy expenditure as well as real-time feedback to the swimmer, enabling more efficient, competitive and quantitative swim coaching.” “Any competitive swimmer will tell you just how demanding their sport is.  In a sport of narrow margins where the difference between winning and not winning can be little as one one-hundredth of a second, the availability of the proposed system might make all the difference”, explains Professor Ó Laighin. “With this in mind we are capitalising on low-cost, high-performance Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMs) technology coupled with innovative algorithms to achieve our goals.” Peter Banks is Performance Director with Swim Ireland, the national governing body for aquatic sports in Ireland. Banks is no stranger to success, having coached US swimmer Brooke Bennett to three gold medals at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. “We have seen a marked increase in the success of Irish swimmers on the international stage in recent years, with medal winning performances by the likes of Gráinne Murphy, Sycerika McMahon and Melanie Nocher. This type of technology is very exciting for Irish swimming to be involved with, the project gives our coaches and swimmers an opportunity to learn more about how athletes perform in the training pool and helps us make more informed decisions around their training programmes.” -ends-

Monday, 27 May 2013

Summary: National University of Ireland Galway-led program with Concern Worldwide wins prestigious Gates Foundation funding for participatory research on improving agricultural tools to reduce labour demands on smallholder women farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa The Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The NUI Galway collaborative research programme with Concern Worldwide has been awarded a US $100,000 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Grand Challenges Exploration (GCE) Phase I grant to pursue an innovative global health and development research project (3D4AGDev) on participatory 3D rapid-prototyping of agricultural/cropping tools to reduce labour demands on women smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mould in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. The 3D4AgDev team’s project is one of the Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 grants announced this week by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To receive funding, the 3D4AgDev teamand other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of four critical global health and development topic areas that included agriculture development, neglected tropical diseases and communications. Applications for the next Round will be accepted starting September 2013.  This, the tenth round of GCE funding, is the first round in which any Irish institution or university has been successful in being awarded a Gates Foundation GCE award. While the initial Phase I grants are for US $100,000 each, projects showing promise have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to US $1 million. In the most recent (tenth) round of GCE funding there were 1,300 proposals submitted worldwide, while 61 awards were made.  The 3D4AgDev Program within the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) will be conducted in close partnership with Concern Worldwide, focusing on labour-saving agri-tool innovations for women smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The 3D4AgDev Program project team consists of: Professor Charles Spillane, NUI Galway PABC agricultural research scientist; Dr Una Murray, NUI Galway PABC gender in agriculture expert; Carol Morgan, Concern Worldwide’s Regional Director for Central Africa; and Paul Wagstaff, Agriculture Advisor for Concern. Over 1000 million smallholder farmers (predominantly women) are farming using labour intensive agricultural hand tools. Such agricultural tools include ones for tasks such as weeding, planting, harvesting and crop/food processing. Professor Spillane stressed that: “Smallholder agricultural systems remain largely dependent on human labour, having minimal access to alternative energy sources for cultivation and agri-processing such as draught animals or fossil-fuel powered mechanization. Routes out of poverty for smallholder rural communities will require a swathe of innovations that improve the labour productivity of their agricultural systems. Smallholder farmers living on less than a dollar a day face this challenge in an era when energy demand and energy costs are increasing to their disadvantage. The innovation challenge is how to enable smallholders to generate more income and agricultural produce while reducing the labour burden on women and rural children so that their livelihoods can improve.” User-led innovation is where the end-users are involved in the research and design of an innovative product or process. The overall aim of the farmer participatory 3D4AgDev Program is to link the potential of user-led innovation with Rapid Prototyping (e.g. via 3D printing) to enable women smallholder farmer groups in Sub-Saharan Africa to design and develop their own labour-saving agricultural tools, tailor-made for their culture, soils and cropping systems. The 3D4AgDev Program will facilitate a participatory technology development program with women smallholders farmers so that the farmers can develop their own agricultural tool and labour-saving innovations. Dr Una Murray highlighted that: “Labour saving tools for women smallholders can have major impacts, including leading to higher yields, higher incomes, more time for other activities, and reductions in harmful child labour in rural areas”. Through linking the women smallholder farmer groups to rapid-prototyping user innovation processes, Paul Wagstaff from Concern indicated that “there is significant potential to improve the status of rural women through fostering an enterprise-oriented ‘maker culture’ for agri-tool innovations”. -ends-

Monday, 27 May 2013

Joseph Fleury, a final year Electronic and Computer Engineering student at NUI Galway has been awarded the Avaya Prize for the best final year project in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the College of Engineering at NUI Galway. A native of Birr, Co. Offaly, Joseph’s project focussed on the development of an autonomous robot system capable of navigating itself around an area using its own computer vision system. The developed robot system is part of a research study in the discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway on the feasibility of using intelligent robot systems to remove weeds in commercial crop and vegetable growing operations.  Dr Michael Keane, Senior Manager with Avaya in Galway, said: “Avaya employ 400 people in Galway with 200 in high technology R&D positions and as part of our ongoing commitment to encouraging and supporting students in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering discipline at NUI Galway, we were delighted to award Joseph this year’s prize. There is an ever-present need to encourage high quality students such as Joseph into degree programmes in this area in order to fill the many open graduate positions in the areas of ICT and software development in companies like ourselves in Avaya.” Dr Martin Glavin, Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, and supervisor of Joseph’s project, said: “Joseph’s project was incredibly sophisticated in that he not only had to build the robot, integrate electronic circuitry and write the software to control it but he also had to develop and test complex mathematical image analysis techniques which would allow the robot to ‘see’ and navigate. His project is an excellent example of how industry focussed post-graduate research expertise within our discipline permeates our under-graduate degree programmes in order to produce engineers with experience in relevant and cutting edge technologies.” -ENDS-

Monday, 27 May 2013

‘Rails Girls’, a worldwide movement that aims to bridge the gender divide in technology and teach women how to code, was recently held in Galway. The event consisted of workshops which provided a first approach to web development and software development. Over 130 women from across Ireland attended ‘Rail Girls’, which was opened by Councillor Frank Fahy, Deputy Mayor of Galway City. Mayor Fahy stressed the importance of such an initiative for the Ireland workforce. Introduction to web application development, programming and architecture design were given by: Gerry Kavanagh, Master Engineer at LM Ericsson; Stefania Farrugia, Software Developer at Fintrax; and Emily Castles, Web Developer at Red Hills Software and co-organiser of Rails Girls Dublin. Speakers at the event included: Ana Maria Valarezo, Senior Account Manager at Zend Technologies; Yuwei Lin, Lecturer at Salford University; Debian Women, programme co-founder; Alanna Kelly, mobile game application developer and founder of the Galway Game Jam; and Matteo Collina, PhD student at University of Bologna. At the end of the Rails Girls Galway workshop, each participant had designed and implemented a web application, were able to enter information, edit and delete them, visualise their addresses on a Google Map and upload their pictures. Myriam Leggieri, PhD student with the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway, said: “Women tend to hold back and the reasons that keep women from entering IT are numerous. Mainly the same stereotype that depicts boys playing with cars and girls playing with dolls, applies in Computer Science. Only the 25% of Information and Technology (IT) jobs are held by women; only 11% of the Fortune 500 companies have women executives and only 5% of tech start-ups are owned by women.” “At the same time, research shows that groups with greater diversity to solve problems better and faster than homogeneous groups; they are more efficient and more experimental. Also women have demonstrated to positively influence growth and efficiency, women-operated, venture-backed companies have 12% higher revenues than the average, and women entrepreneurs begin with about 1/8 of the funding of male-owned ventures. Consequently, the IT gender gap seems to deserve attention”, continued Myriam. Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway Lecturer and founding member of boards.ie and StreamGlider Inc., provided funding for the event through the company he founded, Technology Voice, which he introduced at the workshop. Further funding was provided by NUI Galway’s DERI, Intercom and CISCO. ‘Rails Girls’ workshops are non-profit worldwide phenomena with the first event, launched by Linda Liukas and Karri Saarinen, held in Helsinki in 2010. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Public interviews to include Neil Jordan, Patrick McCabe, Garry Hynes and renowned BBC journalist Peter Taylor A major Irish studies conference at NUI Galway will consider the legacy of the 1916 Rising for contemporary Ireland. For the first time, the European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS) conference will be held in Ireland running from 5-8 June. EFACIS is one of the largest Irish Studies organisations in Europe and represents almost 500 members in over 20 countries. The federation was founded to promote interest in and support the expansion of Irish Studies throughout Europe, encouraging study and debate of all aspects of society, culture and literature of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the Irish diaspora within the humanities and social sciences. Hosted by NUI Galway, this year’s conference will consider the theme ‘Towards 2016: Old and New Irelands’ and has already attracted considerable interest with almost 200 delegates due to attend. Keynote speakers will include; Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin; Dr Alan Ahearne, NUI Galway Lecturer, Economist and former Special Advisor to former Irish Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan; and award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer and investigative journalist, Peter Taylor. In an address entitled ‘Scrambling for the bones of the Patriot Dead: The Irish Revolution (1912-22) and the politics and culture of memory and commemoration’, Professor Ferriter will examine some of the issues involved in the decade of commemorations (2012-22) from the perspective of the historian, but also the questions it raises for society at large in terms of what is remembered, how it is remembered and communicated. Dr Ahearne will consider the relevance today of a central concern of the 1916 Proclamation, Irish sovereignty, given that the largest chunks of economic sovereignty were willingly ceded when the country joined the EEC and especially when it adopted the single currency. Peter Taylor of the BBC and one of the most experienced and respected journalists to have reported on Northern Ireland and the maker of several acclaimed documentaries on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, will screen and talk about some of his documentary work dealing with the Troubles. Taylor will be joined in this discussion by Shauna Duddy and Larry Duddy, who took part in his acclaimed 2008 documentary The Secret Peacemaker, which dealt with their father Brendan Duddy’s secret role as the key intermediary between the British government and the IRA over a span of more than twenty years. The conference will also include public interviews with Oscar-winning film director and novelist Neil Jordan; award-winning novelist and playwright Patrick McCabe; and theatre director and Druid Theatre co-founder Garry Hynes. Dr Seán Crosson, Conference Director and Lecturer with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media, said: “We are delighted to be hosting what will be largest EFACIS conference held to date. We are also pleased that such a strong and interdisciplinary group of speakers have agreed to participate, including in our plenary sessions, which covers areas from film, to theatre, literature, history, economics, music, politics and the media. A recurring concern of the papers, as the conference title suggests, is the legacy of the revolutionary period for contemporary Ireland today as we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rising.” Among the themes considered during the conference will be the Irish Economic Crisis; Northern Ireland: Literature, Politics and Culture; 1916 in literature and Culture; Revisiting Women’s Rights and Gender Equality; Marginal Spaces in Irish Film; Theatre and the 1916 Rising; Irish Sport, 1916-2016; and Ireland’s relationship with Europe. -ENDS-   Oll-chomhdháil sa Léann Éireannach chun Oidhreacht 1916 a phlé Pléifidh oll-chomhdháil sa Léann Éireannach in OÉ Gaillimh an oidhreacht a bhaineann le hÉirí Amach 1916 d’Éirinn an lae inniu. Den chéad uair, beidh comhdháil Chónaidhm Eorpach na gCumann agus na nIonad Léinn Éireannaigh (EFACIS) ar siúl in Éirinn idir an 5-8 Meitheamh. Tá EFACIS ar cheann de na heagraíochtaí is mó san Eoraip a bhíonn ag plé leis an Léann Éireannach agus déanann sé ionadaíocht ar bheagnach 500 ball in os cionn 20 tír. Bunaíodh an chónaidhm chun suim a chothú sa Léann Éireannach ar fud na hEorpa agus chun tacú lena leathnú, agus staidéar agus díospóireacht á spreagadh i ngach gné de shochaí, de chultúr agus de litríocht Phoblacht na hÉireann, Thuaisceart Éireann, agus an diaspóra Éireannaigh laistigh de na daonnachtaí agus na heolaíochtaí sóisialta. Beidh comhdháil na bliana seo ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh agus ‘I dtreo 2016: Éire - mar a bhí agus mar atá’ mar théama aici; cheana féin tá spéis ollmhór léirithe sa chomhdháil ar a mbeidh beagnach 200 toscaire ag freastal. I measc na bpríomhchainteoirí beidh; Diarmaid Ferriter, Ollamh le Stair Chomhaimseartha na hÉireann in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Baile Átha Cliath; an Dr Alan Ahearne, Léachtóir in OÉ Gaillimh, Eacnamaí agus iar-Chomhairleoir Speisialta don iar-Aire Airgeadais, Brian Lenihan; agus an déantóir scannán faisnéise, an scríbhneoir agus an t-iriseoir imscrúdaitheach clúiteach, Peter Taylor. In óráid dar teideal ‘Scrambling for the bones of the Patriot Dead: The Irish Revolution (1912-22) and the politics and culture of memory and commemoration’, scrúdóidh an tOllamh Ferriter cuid de na saincheisteanna a bhaineann le deich mbliana na gcuimhneachán (2012-22) ó pheirspictíocht an stairí, ach chomh maith leis sin na ceisteanna a ardaíonn sé don sochaí go ginearálta maidir le céard a thugann sé chun cuimhne, cén chaoi a ndéantar é a thabhairt chun cuimhne agus a chur in iúl. Breathnóidh an Dr Ahearne ar an ábharthacht a bhaineann sa lá inniu ann le príomhchúis Fhorógra 1916, flaitheas na hÉireann, ós rud é gur géilleadh le codanna móra de fhlaitheas eacnamaíochta nuair a chuaigh an tír isteach sa Chomhphobal Eorpach agus go háirithe nuair a glacadh leis an airgeadra aonair. Tá Peter Taylor ar dhuine de na hiriseoirí is mó taithí agus meas a rinne tuairisciú ar Thuaisceart Éireann agus tá cláir faisnéise chlúiteacha déanta aige faoi Thrioblóidí Thuaisceart Éireann. Taispeánfaidh sé cuid dá shaothar faisnéise a bhaineann leis na Trioblóidí agus déanfaidh sé cur síos orthu. Beidh Shauna Duddy agus Larry Duddy in éineacht le Taylor, beirt a ghlac páirt i gclár faisnéise clúiteach a rinne Peter in 2008 “The Secret Peacemaker”, faoina n-athair, Brendan, agus a ról rúnda mar phríomh-idirghabhálaí idir rialtas na Breataine agus an tIRA thar thréimhse níos faide ná fiche bliain. Mar chuid den chomhdháil chomh maith beidh agallaimh phoiblí le Neil Jordan, úrscéalaí agus stiúrthóir scannán a bhfuil gradam Oscar bainte amach aige; an t-úrscéalaí agus drámadóir clúiteach Patrick McCabe; agus stiúrthóir amharclainne agus comhbhunaitheoir Amharclann an Druid, Garry Hynes. Dúirt an Dr Seán Crosson, Stiúrthóir na Comhdhála agus Léachtóir i Scoil Scannán agus Meán Digiteach Huston OÉ Gaillimh: “Táimid thar a bheith sásta go bhfuil an chomhdháil EFACIS is mó riamh á cur i láthair againn i mí an Mheithimh. Táimid sásta freisin go bhfuil grúpa chomh láidir agus ildisciplíneach cainteoirí sásta páirt a ghlacadh san ócáid, na seisiúin phlé san áireamh, a chlúdaíonn na réimsí a leanas - scannánaíocht, amharclannaíocht, litríocht, stair, eacnamaíocht, ceol, polaitíocht agus na meáin. Imní a thagann chun cinn arís eile sna páipéir, mar a léiríonn teideal na comhdhála, an oidhreacht a bhaineann leis an tréimhs e réabhlóideach d’Éirinn an lae inniu agus muid ag druidim i dtreo Céad Bliain Éirí Amach 1916.” I measc na dtéamaí a bheidh á bplé le linn na comhdhála beidh Géarchéim Eacnamaíochta na hÉireann;  Tuaisceart Éireann: Litríocht, Polaitíocht agus Cultúr; 1916 sa litríocht agus sa chultúr; Athbhreithniú ar Chearta na mBan agus ar Chomhionannas Inscne; Spásanna Imeallacha i Scannáin na hÉireann; Amharclannaíocht agus Éirí Amach 1916; Spórt na hÉireann, 1916-2016; agus caidreamh na hÉireann leis an Eoraip. -CRÍOCH-

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

NUI Galway is now taking applications for its MSc in Cloud Computing Research. The first intake for this new Masters programme was in September 2012 and the programme is already helping to shape the national agenda in cloud computing. The MSc in Cloud Computing Research provides a dedicated programme of advanced research on high-value, business-focused aspects of cloud computing. In the current academic year, with students from major organisations such as Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Eircom, the programme is covering a number of important issues for businesses. These include: studies on business success factors for cloud service; models for return-on-investment for strategic cloudsourcing; optimal text input for mobile cloud business applications; Irish legal considerations for cloud strategies; exploring user benefits of cloud services; and other topics of importance to both large businesses and small SMEs. Dr Tom Acton, Director of the MSc in Cloud Computing Research, said: “We are seeing the direct relevance of our students’ research to companies. Some of our students are leveraging this course to advance within their employment and others as a vehicle to help enter an industry. The University’s research on cloud computing has also been published in international outlets. ” Applications are now being accepted for September 2013 and the there is an option of one-year full-time or a two-year part-time. There are two entry routes: persons already working in the ICT sector or within a technology-related role in other sectors with a qualifying degree or related experience; or persons with an undergraduate degree containing information systems, technology management or equivalent.  The part-time model is particularly suited to persons in employment who wish to pursue a masters-level qualification in this area. For further information the MSc in Cloud Computing Research visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/research-postgraduate-programmes/cloud-computing-research.html  -ENDS-

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

NUI Galway GAA club, in conjunction with University’s Sports Unit, last night (Monday, 27 May) announced their NUI Galway GAA Man of the Match Award winners for the 2012-13 second-level hurling and football finals in Connacht. The awards were presented by NUI Galway’s Clubs and Societies Development Officer, Kathy Hynes. Other speakers on the night included Tom Fox from Coláiste Éinne, who is the Chairperson of the Galway Post-Primary Second Level Schools Hurling committee and Hugh Rodden, Secretary of the Connacht Post-Primary Second Level Schools Football committee. The award winners come from Galway, Roscommon, Sligo and Mayo, covering all senior hurling and football college finals played at post-primary and vocational schools level. This is the second year of the awards scheme which was extended this season to include the Connacht senior football college finals. Also included are the four junior hurling finals played at post-primary hurling and football within Connacht. NUI Galway GAA Development Officer, Michael O’Connor, said: “I would like to congratulate the stars of the future on their success to date and to pay tribute to the teachers and schools for promoting Gaelic games at post-primary level and acknowledge that NUI Galway are delighted to help in recognising this effort with awards at provincial final level. Part of NUI Galway GAA’s policy is to engage with the community at all levels and accept how important it is that students coming to the University recognise that sport is central to the ethos of the college.”

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Ireland’s leading bioenergy R&D group says a capital funding programme is needed to stimulate the development of an indigenous bioenergy industry in Ireland. The Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy (TCBB), which is funded by Enterprise Ireland and based at NUI Galway, has made this and other suggestions in answer to a call for input into a draft a bioenergy strategy for Ireland. Bioenergy is the general term used to describe renewable energy derived from biomass. Biomass includes forestry and crops specifically grown for energy use, as well as biodegradable residues from agriculture, industrial and municipal waste. The Government’s bioenergy strategy will scope out the role that bioenergy can play in meeting Ireland’s 2020 targets for reducing emissions, and is expected to be published by the end of June. According to the TCBB, stimulating development of an indigenous bioenergy and biorefining industry will have a knock-on effect throughout the supply chain, benefitting local forestry and agriculture, as it would provide an outlet for forestry products and energy crops. In addition, agri-food producers will benefit from the ability to economically utilise their process residuals. Local waste management companies may benefit, providing viable uses for a proportion of their biodegradable waste. “Wastes produced from Ireland’s large and productive agri-food industry could be utilised for immediate production of renewable heat, electricity and transport fuels,” says Bart Bonsall, Technology Leader of the TCBB. “With supportive development policies these resources can all be harnessed in the very short term to improve Ireland’s economic performance, attracting inward investment, creating employment, improving Ireland’s balance of trade and the tax base. The outputs from an indigenous bio-energy industry would displace imported coal, oil and other fossil fuels, improving energy security as well as the environment in which we live.” The TCBB suggest a Government fund, underwritten by financing from EU sources could be matched with funds from private enterprise to kick-start development of this industry in Ireland. A €250 million EU backed financing programme would attract an additional €250 million of private investment capital, underpinning construction a variety of renewable heat, electricity and transport fuel projects. Establishment of a development fund would benefit farmers and manufacturers also, says Bonsall: “Ireland benefits from a mild climate and long growing season and Irish farmers generate one of the highest levels of biomass growth per hectare in any of the EU member states. Establishing a stable market outlet for energy crops will allow Irish farmers to leverage this natural advantage, offering a new revenue stream and a means of diversifying their sources of income.” He continued: “New and improved bio-based technologies are being developed for exportable products such as bio-plastics, bio-chemicals and biofuels. Establishing an industrial infrastructure for processing biomass will enable Ireland to capitalise on technological developments as they are developed. New markets are emerging for sustainably produced bio-products, and Ireland could be in a prime position to re-establish a strong bio-manufacturing base, exporting these products to a global market, the size of which will be measured in hundreds of billions of Euros.” “Unfortunately Ireland lags behind other EU member states in the development of a bio-based economy, as initiatives undertaken in Ireland to date have not been sufficient or sufficiently integrated in a manner required to attract the requisite investment capital. Establishment of a bio-based infrastructure fund, however, together with other measures to promote advancement of this industry, will allow development of a productive industrial base that will enable Ireland to quickly catch up with their EU counterparts.” The TCBB brings together researchers from NUI Galway, University of Limerick, Trinity, and UCD to work with Industry stakeholders like Bord na Móna, Glanbia, Biomass Heating Solutions, Cellulac and others on new bioenergy and biorefining technologies for Irish applications. The focus is on getting highly relevant and practical bio-based solutions for Ireland from the lab to the marketplace. More on the TCBB can be found at http://www.tcbb.ie . -ends-

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

In celebration of 21 years of delivering Occupational Health and Safety education, NUI Galway will host a conference entitled ‘Occupational Health and Safety: A Pioneering Past and a Bright Future’ from 14-15 June. Invited speakers from industries such as Shell, Baxter and Alkermes will present their perspectives on health and safety issues. NUI Galway graduate, Ruairí Ward, who works for the Health Safety Environment in Australia, will give a talk entitled ‘Occupational Hygiene, Global Challenges: The View from Down Under’. A keynote address will be given by Dr Sharon McGuinness, Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, who will review workplace chemical safety over 21 years. Other keynote speakers include Dr Paul O Connor, Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, who will talk on ‘Human Systems Integration - From the US Navy to Irish Healthcare’, and Herbert Mulligan of the Health and Safety Review, who will discuss ‘Health and Safety Legislation and Case Law: Past, Present and Future’. Dr Marie Coggins, Director of the MSc and Higher Diploma Health and Safety programmes at NUI Galway, said: “The aim of the conference is to showcase the achievements of some notable graduates and to provide a forum for review and discussion of the current status of, and the future challenges for, the Health and Safety discipline both locally and internationally. The University has a long history in Occupational Health and Safety education at postgraduate level through its Higher Diploma and MSc programmes, having graduated over 1000 students, many of whom have made major contributions in industry, government and academia both in Ireland and around the world.” Applications are now being accepted via www.pac.ie  for this year’s MSc and HDip programmes in Occupational Health and Safety, for both full-time and part-time students. The programmes are multidisciplinary in nature, involving contributions from the Colleges of Science, Business and Public Policy and Law, Engineering and Informatics and Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Students study topics such as occupational health, occupational hygiene, ergonomics, safety and risk management, research methods, and legal studies. The conference takes place in the IT Building at NUI Galway, and further details and registration information can be obtained at http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=220 or contact NUI Galway Health and Safety Law Lecturer Deirdre Callanan at deirdre.callanan@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Thursday, 30 May 2013

The NUI Galway MBA in conjunction with the University’s BioInnovate programme has won a major award in the recent MBA World Trophy which took place in Dublin. The competition brought together teams of highly motivated entrepreneurs from some of the world’s top universities to compete against each other with their start-up businesses, where business models were challenged by a leading panel of successful entrepreneurs, VCs and thought leaders.  The MBA World Trophy is the first initiative of its kind: a unique showcase of entrepreneurial talent from some of the world’s finest graduate schools. Billed as a business start-up competition, the World Trophy will accelerate an early stage company using the lean start up principles and change how college students think about business building. Competing teams pitched their business models to an exclusive panel of VCs, and participated in workshops in Innovation, Finance, Growth and Leadership. Each team was paired with a mentor and on the final day each team presented their final pitch to the judging panel. The team that won the award for the most impactful business idea, which is based on a medical device innovation product, includes two BioInnovate Ireland Fellows, Ashwin Kher (NUI Galway BioInnovate Team) and Michael Morrissey (University of Limerick BioInnovate team), both of whom are NUI Galway MBA graduates and Joseph O’Callaghan, a 3rd Year Biomedical Engineering student at NUI Galway. Ashwin Kher, NUI Galway MBA graduate 2012 and current BioInnovate Ireland Fellow was on the winning team and said: “The World MBA trophy competition was an incredible experience, both in the content and the quality of the speakers. It was a privilege to get an opportunity to learn from global thought leaders on lean start-up strategy and entrepreneurship. The three-day competition was gruelling from start to finish and the standard of competitors was truly world class. Teams represented the finest international MBA programmes from Columbia University (USA) to INSEAD (France).” The value of the MBA and the training received during the BioInnovate programme was critical to the team’s success as another team member, Michael Morrissey (BioInnovate Ireland Fellow and NUI Galway MBA 2012) states: “The MBA at NUI Galway was instrumental in providing us with the skills to compete effectively at this level. The emphasis on strategy and innovation and its application out of the classroom provided a strong foundation for our success. The BioInnovate program taught us the fundamental steps in the process of medical device innovation and identifying clinical needs that stressed the importance of patient and user impact. Winning the title of ‘Business Most Likely to Have a Global Impact’ is something we’re proud of. Being recognised by someone of the calibre of Professor Vivek Wadwha is really huge for us.” Competition entrants included some of the best schools in the world including: INSEAD (FRANCE), UCD Smurfit, Instituto de Empresa Business School (ES), NYU Stern, ESAN Graduate School of Business (Peru), Columbia (US), Rotman School of Business (CA), Warwick (UK), Tel Aviv University (Israel), IPADE (Mexico) and Trinity College Dublin. This World Trophy follows from the recent announcement that NUI Galway has attained the global AMBA accreditation for its MBA programme offered in the School of Business and Economics. AMBA provide the only dedicated accreditation regime for MBA Programmes and now positions NUI Galway against the best worldwide. The Association of MBAs (AMBA) accreditation is internationally recognised as the global standard for all MBA programmes. AMBA accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement in MBA education and is earned only by the best programmes. AMBA accredits 200 Schools in over 70 countries.  Speaking about this most recent accolade, Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Programme Director, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway said: “Winning an award at the MBA World Trophy demonstrates that our MBA graduates can successfully compete on the global stage and follows successes for NUI Galway MBA teams in the MBA Association of Ireland national all-Ireland competitions. We extend our congratulations to the BioInnovate Ireland team and wish them continued success in what promises to be an exciting entrepreneurial start-up journey.” Dr Mark Bruzzi, Programme Director, BioInnovate Ireland added: “BioInnovate are delighted that the teams activities in identifying unmet clinical needs and aligning them with market opportunities has been recognised in this way.”  ENDS

Friday, 16 May 2014

180 students and staff join forces to build a range of campus and society-enhancing projects. EXPLORE Expo celebrates 28 projects from mobile apps, education books, journals to student study aids, interactive beach information, new ways of studying Shakesphere in schools. 400 staff and students have delivered 69 projects to date The results of 28 joint student and staff projects focused on making an impact on society were unveiled at a ceremony in NUI Galway today. The EXPLORE Programme brings staff and students together to develop projects that can have a positive benefit on campus and also for wider society. Each project receives up to €1,000 in funding. This year’s projects include: ‘ShoutOut’, an anti-homophobic bullying programme for schools; ‘STARTS’, workshops in which NUI Galway students teach staff how to develop mobile apps; ‘Capture your Campus’, a campus-based amateur photography competition and exhibition; an Undergraduate Science Fair; a clothing brand based on the University’s “Big Yellow Thing”; the installation of a beehive on campus to promote awareness of pollinators; and a project bringing Shakespeare to life in secondary schools using theatre. Members of the public can see the impact of these projects in many ways: Copies of one project’s book, ‘Scary Noisy Things’, which is aimed at helping toddlers understand their emotions, will be available online and coming soon to Galway libraries. School teachers can contact ‘ShoutOut’ and the Shakespeare projects about visiting their schools. The ‘I Like Beaches’ project will soon have information boards on the importance of our beaches, placed on the Salthill prom. Quick response (QR) codes will be added to exhibits at NUI Galway’s Zoology and Marine Biology Museum in the coming weeks. A project which produced literature aimed at educating carers on how to avoid pressure ulcers will be shared in Ireland, the UK and North America. The Surgical Training Workshop project will be see the next generation of surgeons learning the skills that will save lives for decades to come. The Choral Online Resource (CÓR) project will put hard-to-find traditional Irish songs online for a global audience. Previous years’ projects include ‘Cell Explorers’, a programme whereby undergraduate science students and their lecturers visit primary schools showing schoolchildren basic scientific experiments. This project has gone on to expand across the country and has been awarded over €50,000 in external funding. NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Seán Kearns: “The Students’ Union is very proud of the EXPLORE initiative. EXPLORE shows how staff and students can work in partnership to achieve an incredible synergy to the benefit of our campus and the wider community.” NUI Galway’s Vice President for Innovation and Performance, Professor Chris Curtin, said:“EXPLORE is a fresh approach that harnesses the talents and passions of our campus community. EXPLORE has demonstrated our commitment to innovation as well as the power of staff-student partnership to achieve outstanding & exciting results in a very short space of time.” The project list and more background about the EXPLORE programme are available at http://www.su.nuigalway.ie/index.php/projects. -Ends-

Friday, 16 May 2014

A new guidebook has been published by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences to help people explore the natural history of the Galway area. The booklet was produced as part of NUI Galway’s EXPLORE initiative that promotes and sponsors innovation through student and staff collaboration. Entitled Self Guided Fieldtrip – Galway Area, the booklet was compiled by Alina Wieczorek, a third year undergraduate student with the School of Natural Sciences, and Professor Martin Feely, Earth and Ocean Science at NUI Galway. The tour includes a visit to the James Mitchell Museum, in NUI Galway’s Quadrangle Building, to introduce the rocks, minerals and fossils of the Galway area and from around the globe. The guide highlights the natural history resource that is the coastal zone stretching from Galway city westwards to Salthill and beyond. The reader can explore the natural history by using the supplied map and the many field illustrations of bedrock geology, and the flora and fauna that live on the bedrock substrate highlighting the inextricable links between the Natural Sciences of Geology, Botany and Zoology. Those who engage with the guide are encouraged to share and discuss their discoveries through the webpage, www.exploregalway.npage.eu. A downloadable version of the guide is also available on this webpage. For a hard copy, visit NUI Galway’s James Mitchell Museum in the Quadrangle Building, or the Zoology Museum  in the Ryan Institute, or ask for it in the Earth and Ocean Sciences office on the second floor of the Quadrangle. The museums are open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. -Ends-

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Members of the public are invited to a Research Day at NUI Galway on Thursday, 11 April. Academics and researchers will present ideas that could lead to new discoveries and innovations. Representatives from NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, and College of Science, will be joined by colleagues from the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Limerick. This day-long event is being held in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway commencing at 10.30am. The annual NUI Galway event runs in conjunction with the University of Limerick, as part of the Strategic Alliance between the two organisations. Highlights of this year’s event include more than 200 research poster presentations by researchers from both universities. The event will showcase some of the cutting edge research being carried out by engineers and scientists across several diverse disciplines from energy, biomedical, ICT, civil, mechanical, chemical, mathematical and physical sciences to the biological sciences.   “This is an exceptional opportunity to hear first-hand from those who at the forefront of engineering, ICT and science innovation and research,” explained Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway. “Interaction is the lifeblood of scientific innovation so we are very much looking forward to meeting scientific and engineering colleagues and peers as well as members of the wider community,” said Professor Kieran Hodnett, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Limerick. Over the course of the day there will be talks from five speakers on topics as varied as Aerospace Research in Ireland, Marine Discovery Research, and Medical Device Research and Development. Speakers include: Gavin Campbell, Bombardier Aerospace; Martin Hynes, European Science Foundation; Professor Deniz Tasdemir, NUI Galway; Heinrich Anhold, StableLab; and Ray McCarthy, Boston Scientific.  Speaking about the event Dr Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, Vice-Dean of Research, College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, said: “This is a unique day in the calendar of the two Universities, as engineers and scientists will get together to present and debate their research in a forum that is open to the public. Talks will be topical and aimed at a lay-audience. Our invited speakers are world-renowned and leaders in their field. We welcome local industry and the general public to participate in this event.” Presentations will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall with a simultaneous Postgraduate Poster Competition. Those interested in attending should visit the NUI Galway website to find out view the full programme of events www.nuigalway.ie/research-day or contact Sharon Allman sharon.allman@nuigalway.ie  -ENDS-