Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Most recent available data (2007) shows that 37% of Irish adults are overweight and a further 24% of adults are obese The Health Economics and Policy Analysis research group at NUI Galway will host a one day conference on obesity on Friday, 17 January. Obesity is a complex, interdisciplinary problem that involves genetics, physiology, the environment, psychology, and economics. Economic factors have played a significant role in the development of the obesity crisis and economics offers many insights into various solutions to improve the crisis and to prevent more people from becoming obese. Keynote speaker, Professor John Cawley from Cornell University, will focus on several aspects of the economics of obesity including the economic contributors to obesity, the economic consequences of obesity, and economic strategies for treatment and prevention. Other speakers and topics to be addressed include: Professor Tim O’Brien, NUI Galway; An overview of the extent of the obesity problem in Ireland Dr Francis Finucane, NUI Galway; Cost-effectiveness of bariatric surgery Brendan Walsh, NUI Galway; Socioeconomic inequalities in childhood obesity in Ireland Michelle Queally, NUI Galway; Exploring individual preferences for obesity treatment and willingness to pay for treatments   Professor Fidelma Dunne; Obesity in Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes in Ireland Dr Anne Dee, Mid-West HSE; Economic cost of obesity in Ireland Professor David Madden, UCD; The distributional effects of a ‘fat tax’ in Ireland The conference will be of interest to researchers, clinicians and policymakers working in this area and will take place in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway. For more details please contact Brendan Kennelly at brendan.kennelly@nuigalway.ie or 091 493094. -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2014 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 14th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 1 March, 2014 in the Bailey Allen Wing located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of 79 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, Michael D. Higgins, Ciarán FitzGerald, Sean O’Rourke, Professor Frank Gannon, Dr Luke Clancy and Gráinne Seoige. After a highly successful sporting year at NUI Galway, this year’s banquet will focus on sport. The winners of the five alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2014: Award for Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies - sponsored by AIB  - Norah Gibbons, Chairperson, Child and Family Agency.  Alumni Award for Business, Public Policy and Law – sponsored by Bank of Ireland   -  Helen Ryan, Former CEO and Non-Executive Director of Creganna-Tactx Medical.  Alumni Award for Engineering and Informatics – sponsored by Bank of Ireland  - Michael McNicholas, CEO, Bord Gáis.  Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic  - Professor Ray Dolan, Professor of Neuropsychology, University College London and Head of the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience at the Institute of Neurology, London.  Alumni Award for Science – sponsored by Aramark  - Professor Gerald Jennings, Emeritus Professor, School of Physics, NUI Galway and former Director of the Environmental Change Institute, NUI Galway.             Speaking on the announcement of the Awards recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their chosen fields. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to campus for the Gala Banquet in March.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends   ENDS  

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC) will host the research that has likely applications in materials science, meteorology and data analytics.   NUI Galway and Intel have signed an agreement to jointly conduct research on many core technology in High Performance Computing (HPC) and big data analytics. The research will be carried out at the Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC) in NUI Galway. The new parallel computing centre aims to significantly improve parallelism, scalability and efficiencies of existing High Performance Computing applications.  The agreement to establish the ‘Intel Parallel Computing Centre between NUI Galway and Intel’ was announced by NUI Galway president Dr Jim Browne and Intel vice president and director of Intel Labs Europe, Martin Curley at a ceremony in NUI Galway. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said, “we in NUI Galway are proud of our long association with ICHEC, since its establishment and are very pleased to support their ongoing work. We believe that ICHEC’s mission is vital for Ireland and that its services are very important to academia and industry alike. Today’s signing is a wonderful example of the work of ICHEC. We are delighted to be working with Intel in this way and look forward to our continuing partnership.” Intel will fund the research programme led by director of the ICHEC, Professor JC Desplat. The programme will foster the uptake of current and next generation Intel many core technology, such as the Intel® Xeon Phi™ Coprocessor. “Intel is pleased to expand our Intel® Parallel Computing Centre program by collaborating with National University of Ireland, Galway and ICHEC,” said Intel vice president and director of Intel Labs Europe, Martin Curley. “This new centre creates an opportunity for Intel, NUI Galway and ICHEC to innovate and optimize applications which benefit industry and science in Ireland, Europe, and globally.” Principal investigator Professor JC Desplat said “ICHEC has been chosen for this programme following its track record of excellence in many-core solutions. We are delighted to be part of the development of this exciting new technology. As a country, Ireland excels in the effective use of high-performance computing, and today’s partnership consolidates that standing. The outcome of this ambitious programme will be improved software solutions in areas such as materials science, weather forecasting and data analytics.”       -ENDS-

Friday, 17 January 2014

Research by Dr Mary Corcoran was prompted by 2012 European Salmonella Agona outbreak resulted in over 160 cases of gastroenteritis in 10 countries.   An NUI Galway researcher has discovered that once Salmonella gets into a food processing facility it is very difficult to remove it. Microbiologist Dr Mary Corcoran attempted to kill Salmonella biofilms on a variety of hard surfaces, using three types of disinfectant. The research, to be published in the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, shows that once Salmonella has established itself for seven days, it was not possible to kill Salmonella using three disinfectants, even by soaking the Salmonella in disinfectant for an hour and a half. The research found that all of the types of Salmonella studied were able to adopt the specialised biofilm lifestyle on all of the surfaces looked at. These included glass, stainless steel, glazed tile, concrete and plastic. It shows that the biofilm of Salmonella gets more dense over time, and becomes more firmly attached to the surface. The findings will serve as a warning to food processors in particular highlighting that once Salmonella gets into a food processing facility and has an opportunity to form a biofilm on surfaces, it is likely to be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to kill it. Dr Mary Corcoran said “Food processing facilities must take strict care to keep Salmonella out of the clean areas where cooked foods get further processing and packaged, and ask whether disinfectants that are promoted as killing various types of bacteria are really as effective as claimed.” The research was prompted by the Salmonella outbreak in Europe in which over 160 people in 10 countries developed gastroenteritis from the Salmonella Agona strain of Salmonella. That outbreak was traced to meat from a major food-processing facility.  Dr Corcoran said “it seems that the outbreak entered into the environment in the part of the facility where meat that was already cooked was being handled, and it had survived and contaminated the cooked meat. Interested in finding out that Salmonella might have something special about it that makes it better at surviving in the environment of a food processing facility, we asked was it better at forming a dense biofilm, or was it more resistant to disinfectants than other Salmonella? We discovered it was not.” The three disinfectants used against Salmonella in the research were sodium hypochlorite (household bleach), sodium hydroxide, and benzalkonium chloride. The research shows that a lot of the time, the disinfectant may add very little, if anything, to good cleaning and appropriate food handling practices and that there is a need for more research to define better methods for killing Salmonella biofilm.”   -ENDS-

Thursday, 16 January 2014

 ‘European Integration and the Taming of Nationalism’ is theme of lecture with a response by Professor Gerard Quinn, NUI Galway School of Law The 2014 Dr Garret FitzGerald Memorial Lecture will be given by Dr Peter Sutherland and hosted at NUI Galway by NUI Chancellor Dr Maurice Manning and President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne. Dr Sutherland will speak on the topic of ‘European Integration and the Taming of Nationalism’ and Prof. Gerard Quinn, School of Law, NUI Galway will respond. Dr Peter Sutherland is Chairman of the London School of Economics and the UN Special Representative for Migration and Development. He served as European Commissioner between 1985 and 1988, having been appointed as Ireland’s Attorney General by Dr Garret FitzGerald in 1981. NUI Chancellor Dr Maurice Manning said 'Nothing delighted Dr Garret FitzGerald more than public discourse and the articulation and defence of ideas. In seeking to honour him, the Senate of the National University of Ireland thought it appropriate to initiate an annual series of lectures in his memory.   This year’s lecture by Peter Sutherland is on a topic that Garret would have found of great interest'.  NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said “The Dr Garret FitzGerald Memorial Lecture commemorates one of Ireland’s leading statesman and a former Chancellor of NUI.  We in NUI Galway are honoured to host the 2014 Memorial Lecture and look forward to welcoming Dr Peter Sutherland, a close and long standing friend of Dr FitzGerald, to campus for what promises to be a fascinating and stimulating address.” Professor Gerard Quinn, NUI Galway School of Law, will respond to Dr Sutherland’s view on ‘European Integration and the Taming of Nationalism’. The lecture will be held in the Aula Maxima at 6pm on Friday, 31 January 2014 and is open to the public, who can register at www.conference.ie   Advanced booking is essential as places are limited. The Dr Garret FitzGerald Memorial Lecture is held annually by the National University of Ireland at constituent colleges. A former Taoiseach, Dr Garret FitzGerald was Chancellor of the NUI between 1997 and 2009, and had previously served as a member of the Senate of the University from 1972 until 1997. -ends-

Monday, 20 January 2014

Up to 500,000 children in developing countries go blind each year due to Vitamin A deficiency The NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) has been closely working with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on the development of more nutritious and higher yielding crops for smallholder farmers in Africa since 2009. The NUI Galway – IITA research has now been published in the international scientific journal BMC Plant Biology. Vitamin A deficiency in the diets of the poor is currently a global health problem affecting millions of people in Africa and other regions of the world.  Vitamin A deficiency retards growth, increases risk of disease, and can cause reproductive disorders. IITA, Irish Aid and NUI Galway are engaged with the international Harvest Plus initiative of the CGIAR and national agricultural research systems to develop and disseminate new varieties of staple crops (e.g. maize, sweet potato, beans) that contain higher levels of essential micronutrients such as vitamin A, iron and zinc.  Up to 500,000 children in developing countries go blind each year due to vitamin A deficiency, with over half of these children dying within a year of becoming blind. For instance, in Malawi 73% of children currently do not have enough Vitamin A in their diets.  The high prevalence of vitamin A deficiency amongst mothers and children (particularly during the first 1000 days of life) perpetuates cycles of poverty. A key aim is develop even more improved maize varieties which have sufficiently high levels of vitamin A to impact on human health and which are high yielding under African growing conditions. Working closely with Prof. Charles Spillane (NUI Galway) and Dr. Abebe Menkir (IITA), a PhD student and maize breeder Girum Azmach has been conducting research between NUI Galway and IITA on development of vitamin A rich maize varieties for African smallholder farmers and growing conditions.   Working within IITA’s maize breeding program, Girum has identified combinations of naturally-occurring genes in maize lines that result in major increases of the level of vitamin A in the types of maize varieties that are grown by farmers and consumed by poorer households in Sub-Saharan Africa.   Girum has been able to screen and identify maize lines within the IITA breeding program that recorded as high as 17 microgram per each gram of a dry maize kernel. This concentration of provitamin A is much higher than that of commonly grown maize cultivars, which is mostly less than 2 micrograms per each gram of dry maize kernel. This means that IITA and other maize breeding programs in Africa now have access to lines that have levels of provitamin A that are necessary for biofortified maize varieties to reduce the levels of vitamin A deficiency amongst the poor in Sub Saharan Africa. The identification of these gene combinations and high vitamin A maize lines now allows IITA and national research programs to better develop vitamin A biofortified tropical maize varieties adapted to growing conditions and consumer preferences in Africa. IITA in collaboration with national partners in Nigeria has released the first generation of two pro-vitamin A rich hybrids and two open-pollinated varieties. An open-pollinated variety with intermediate level of pro-vitamin A was also released in Ghana in 2012. Seeds of the released pro-vitamin A rich open-pollinated maize varieties have been sent to Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone for testing, multiplication and deployment with the support from HarvestPlus and AGRA. The high vitamin A lines identified by Girum will be provided to national breeding programs in countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Liberia for use to develop their own vitamin A rich varieties for smallholder farmers and the rural poor. Overall, the development of staple crops with improved micronutrient composition and content for African smallholders is set to contribute to both improving smallholder agriculture and prevention of maternal and child undernutrition in Africa. -ends-

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

NUI Click and Connect introduction to computer classes will resume again in NUI Galway on the week beginning 27 January. These classes, which are free to learners, have to date trained over 500 people in basic computing skills. Running for two-hours a week, four weeks in a row, the classes are aimed at those with little or no computer experience. The classes will cover topics such as introduction to the internet, online shopping and booking tickets, setting up and managing email, and using the computer in conjunction with a digital camera. Many of the class participants have never used a computer before, and the classes are run in a relaxed and fun way to encourage confidence in the “new surfers”. Student volunteers support the learners to practice their new skills in the college’s computer labs. Classes are small with a maximum of 12 people and there is usually one-to-one support from the student volunteers. Each learner is a given a supporting booklet with simple instructions so that they can practice their skills outside class times if they wish. All those who complete the course receive a certificate of attendance. Pat Byrne, Manager of Click and Connect and a lecturer with the discipline of Information Technology in NUI Galway, is delighted with the feedback received from those who have completed the programme. “Many of our learners have been older people who are finding that using the internet is opening up a whole new world to them. They are able access services easily and use email and Skype to communicate with friends and family both at home and overseas. Our learners are also delighted to be able to compare prices and shop online, and follow their hobbies too. Whether they are looking for a job or searching for a new recipe, access to the internet makes their life so much easier. Everyone can pick up these basic skills and our classes provide a supportive environment in which to do so”. The classes are funded by a small grant from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and are offered free to participants. For further information and to book a place on one of the classes, call 087 0571967 or 091 493332. -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

NUI Galway’s Harry Potter Society will hold a three day convention dedicated to Harry Potter fans. PotterFest Galway will take place from 31 January to 2 February in the Bailey Allen hall at NUI Galway.  PotterFest is Ireland’s only Harry Potter convention and over 200 fans attended last year’s event. The event will offer a taste of Hogwarts in potions, astrology or defence against the dark arts classes. In the opening ceremony on Friday fans will be sorted into their houses and compete in games for the auror or deatheater teams. On Sunday there will be a chance to try out muggle quidditch and to watch a couple of matches. A fun-filled weekend is in store with talks from speakers from ‘Magic is Might’, Jennifer Trieu and Grainne O’Brien. There will be writing and cosplay (with Mez's Masquerade) workshops, an artist’s alley and a trader’s hall where artwork and merchandise can be purchased. There will be also a games room and other events. All proceeds from the event will be donated to charity. More information is available at www.potterfestgalway.com, facebook, twitter, and tumblr, or email potterfestgalway@gmail.com. Weekend tickets cost €15, and a day ticket is €10, with Friday only being free entry.  The NUI Galway Harry Potter Society is not associated with JK Rowling or Warner Brothers in any way. It’s a society created to show members’ appreciation and love for the Harry Potter series that played such a large part members’ childhoods. The Society has comedy Potter showings; table quizzes weekly competitions, Quiddich tournaments, book discussions, a Sorting Ceremony and so much more -Ends-

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

In a unique development for Drama and Theatre teaching in Ireland, Druid Theatre Company and NUI Galway today launched a new Druid Academy, as part of a 10 year partnership between the two organisations. Part of the Centre for Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, the Druid Academy covers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Drama, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, as well as PhD research opportunities.  The Druid Academy will provide training in drama that meets best international practice while also embedding the values associated with Druid Theatre into the teaching curriculum. Borne out of a vision of Galway as a location for the creation of excellent theatre, teaching in the Druid Academy will follow the Druid approach, focusing on ensemble as a mode of performance, rigorous critical analysis of theatre, by both practitioners and audiences, and an awareness of the importance of audience, in a variety of locations: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Speaking at the launch of the Druid Academy, Professor Patrick Lonergan, Head of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “The Druid Academy allows us to bring the best of the University together with the best of the Irish theatre world. Druid have for many years showed that Galway can be a wonderful place to create theatre – and that it can be an ideal base to bring new Irish drama to audiences all over the world. By working with Druid, we will be able to foster new generations of theatre-makers and playwrights, who will change the way we produce drama in Galway, Ireland, and the world”. Led by Tony Award-winning Director, Dr Garry Hynes, Druid staff will work alongside NUI Galway's Drama and Theatre scholars to provide world-class training in directing, design, playwriting, and many other areas of theatre studies. In a partnership that will see close integration between Druid staff and NUI Galway Drama scholars, Dr Garry Hynes takes up the role of Adjunct Professor at NUI Galway, with Drama students benefitting from regular workshops and master classes with the renowned Theatre Director. The Druid Academy will also feature other Druid staff including the  Druid Director-in-Residence, Thomas Conway. Thomas, a practising professional director and dramaturge, will have particular responsibility for developing the performance elements of the Druid Academy. The Druid Director-in-Residence will play a key role in building relationships between Druid staff and NUI Galway Drama and theatre students and in developing the practice and performance aspects of the Drama curriculum. The Academy will also lead to the development of new courses, including three new MA programmes. These are in Irish Drama, Writing for Theatre, and Theatre Practice and Production. NUI Galway also offers a part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies, and has two very popular undergraduate Drama programmes. Students of the Druid Academy will gain a unique insight into the world of professional theatre when they get the opportunity to stage an annual professional-standard production, directed by the Druid Director-in-Residence.  Artistic Director of Druid, Dr Garry Hynes, said: “This is a very significant relationship not just for Druid but for Irish Theatre generally. I am really looking forward to working with my colleagues both in Druid and NUI Galway in seeing this relationship flourish". The relationship between NUI Galway and Druid is a long and fruitful one. The company was founded on campus in 1975 by graduates Marie Mullen, Garry Hynes and the late Mick Lally. Through the years the two organisations have collaborated at various times including notably the housing of the Druid archive at the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and the establishment of a playwriting award in memory of the late Jerome Hynes who was General Manager of Druid at a formative stage in the company's development. The three founders, as well as being graduates, have all been awarded Honorary Degrees by the University. Three years ago that relationship was formalised into a strategic partnership that saw Druid and NUI Galway join forces to train the next generation of theatre-makers. Today that partnership moves on to a new level with the announcement of the Druid Academy. Commenting at the launch, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The development of Drama and Theatre Studies represents a natural fit for NUI Galway given the vibrant theatre world in Galway. Our Drama and Theatre offering has gone from strength to strength thanks to a unique collaboration with world-class theatre-makers like Druid.  The Druid Academy represents the culmination of a long and fruitful partnership between Druid and NUI Galway and provides our students with unique access to some of Ireland’s leading theatre-makers”. Students interested in finding out more about programmes in the Druid Academy should visit: www.nuigalway.ie/drama Ends

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway will launch a new book, Econophysics and Physical Economics, on Thursday, 23 January at 2pm in the Cairnes Building on campus. The event will include a special talk with the authors, Professors Peter Richmond, Stefan Hutzler and Jurgen Mimkes. An understanding of the behaviour of financial assets and the evolution of economies has never been as important as today and Econophysics and Physical Economics looks at these complex systems from the perspective of the physicist. So called 'econophysics' and its application to finance has made great strides in recent years. For more than a decade, physicists have used the methods and tools based on statistical physics to analyse the complexities of not just natural systems but also financial and economic systems. The research was also stimulated by the ready availability of large data sets in the realm of financial markets. As a result new insights into the nature of financial market fluctuations and other inherent complex dynamics associated with the financial markets were being discovered. This stimulating research program has in turn led to novel approaches to economic theory informed by empirical observations and physical ideas, and continues to articulate an alternative framework for analysing economic systems. Authors Professors Peter Richmond and Stefan Hutzler of Trinity College Dublin and Professor Jurgen Mimkes, retired Professor of Physics at the University of Paderborn, Germany highlight and discuss these novel approaches in the new book, published by Oxford University Press. According to Dr Srinivas Raghavendra of the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics and the Whitaker Institute, “The ongoing economic crisis has severely challenged the current dominant economic model that informs policy. I think a serious attempt to go beyond the established conventional framework has become an urgent necessity of our times. In this respect, Econophysics offers one such alternative framework to think outside the conventional mode and it would be to our benefit that we engage with it and critically examine what it offers.” For more information on the event please visit www.nuigalway.ie/whitakerinstitute or call 091 495971. -Ends-

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway has brought together 23 of Ireland’s leading human rights groups to adopt a common vision for human rights in Irish Foreign Policy. The Galway Platform on Human Rights in Irish Foreign Policy sets out the basic human rights standards and practices by which Ireland should be held to account in its dealings with other countries, as well as in its activities at EU and UN levels. The Galway Platform contains 47 specific observations and proposals to government in the context of the current consultation on a review of Irish Foreign Policy being undertaken by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. These are realistic and measured recommendations intended to ensure that Ireland holds true to the human rights commitments that it has freely entered into. The protection of human rights is integral to Ireland’s foreign policy and Ireland now has the opportunity to significantly enhance its capacity to promote and protect human rights worldwide as well as at home. The recommendations also emphasise the need for human rights to be mainstreamed across every aspect of foreign policy. For instance, the Galway Platform states that, “it would be unacceptable for the State to undertake any action that is inconsistent with the human rights standards by which it is held to account.” Professor Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway said, “We are delighted that so many important human rights groups were able to come to Galway and agree on this wide-ranging road map for human rights in Irish Foreign Policy. Although the government is already getting a lot right when it comes to the promotion of human rights internationally, no one would dispute that it can do so much more. The Irish Centre for Human Rights and the other signatories are putting the Galway Platform recommendations to government so that Ireland can be an international champion of human rights to make us proud.” The Galway Platform has been signed by: Amnesty International Ireland, Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at University College Cork, Centre for Disability Law & Policy at National University of Ireland, Galway, Children's Rights Alliance, Community Workers’ Co-operative, Department of Applied Social Studies, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC), Front Line Defenders, Gay & Lesbian Equality Network, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Irish Penal Reform Trust, Irish Refugee Council, Liberia Solidarity Group, National Assembly of the Baha’is of Ireland, National Women's Council of Ireland, Northern Ireland Human Rights Consortium, Pavee Point, Social Justice Ireland, Trocaire, University College Dublin, Human Rights Network and Women’s Human Rights Alliance. -ends-

Friday, 24 January 2014

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Clonmel on Thursday, 30 January. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Clonmel Park Hotel, Cahir Road, Co. Tipperary. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, BA in Journalism, BA in Science (Physics- degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical or Theoretical) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Gaeilge) which is brand new for 2013-14.  “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Tipperary, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Clonmel is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Clonmel, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Celine O’Donovan on 087 2391219 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 24 January 2014

International Evidence indicates one in 88 children, including one in 54 boys, has an Autism Spectrum Disorder The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway is inviting the public to meet and engage in planning the future direction of the provision of services for those with autism in Ireland. ICAN, in partnership with Trinity College Dublin and Autism Speaks, aim to develop an Irish Autism Registry and Biobank. Autism is a lifelong disorder and has profound effects on an individual’s social, emotional and cognitive development, and has implications for the family, state services and society at large. A Stakeholder Consultation Process is underway to take account of the needs and perspectives of individuals with autism and other related neurodevelopmental disorders and the perspectives of their families. As part of the consultation process there will be regional public consultation meetings held around the country, which all are welcome to attend. NUI Galway will host a meeting on the 28th January at the Fottrell Theatre, Arts Millennium Building at 7pm. For additional information on public meetings visit www.iarb.ie  International evidence indicates a significant rise in the prevalence of this condition, 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 are currently diagnosed with autism than diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and Down syndrome combined. Dr. Geraldine Leader, Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research at NUI Galway commented, “The need for a registry of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related neurodevelopmental disorders will address critical questions concerning ASD and related conditions in Ireland, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive registry. This registry will serve as a national resource for research in the areas of health, education and social services and to inform policy development.” Clinical registries will gather clinical information and other data on patients to inform the development of clinical practice, services and future research. Some of the best-known examples of registries are those that exist in Scandinavian countries where there are well-established patient registries for a variety of physical and mental illnesses and disabilities for many years. These well-organised registries provide critical data that are useful for the development of services and to identify critical research questions to be further investigated. The Development of a registry can address a range of research topics that may include: The scale of autism in Ireland across the lifespan. The behavioral health and medical needs of the Irish autism community. The impact of early intervention on later outcomes. Factors that influence successful school placement. Factors that influence improved quality of life among adolescents and adults with    autism. Planning for transitions in service delivery, e.g. from preschool to school and from school to adult services. -ends-

Monday, 27 January 2014

Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland at NUI Galway is the first facility of its’ kind on the island of Ireland The Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) at NUI Galway is the first ever facility on the island of Ireland to receive a licence from the Irish Medicines Board to manufacture culture-expanded stem cells for human use. This facility in Galway, opened today by Minister Seán Sherlock, positions Ireland as a global player in the regenerative medicine field and is a significant development for the med tech sector as a whole.  There are many human diseases which have either inadequate or no effective treatments, and since 2004 researchers based at the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) in NUI Galway have been working to develop new therapies to impact many different areas of unmet medical need. To develop any new human therapy, the treatment must first be tested for safety and effectiveness in a series of rigorous clinical trials.  Over the past number of years REMEDI has developed the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland which is a custom-built facility designed to expand stem cells for use in human clinical trials.  Now it has been successfully accredited, the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland plans to supply stem cells for use in clinical trials following regulatory approval arising from pre-clinical data generated at REMEDI.  Today’s announcement coincides with plans for the first clinical trial using CCMI- manufactured stem cells which is being funded by the Health Research Board and Science Foundation Ireland. It will investigate the safety of using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) isolated from bone marrow for the treatment of critical limb ischemia, a common complication associated with diabetes and which can often result in limb amputation.  MSCs must be grown in the laboratory to generate sufficient quantities following their isolation from the bone marrow of adult donors. President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne said: “developing Galway’s role as med tech hub of global standing, the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland captures NUI Galway’s commitment to bring bold ideas to life. Innovation can bridge the gap between patient and provider and meet the needs of industry and the wider society in a balanced way.”     Minister of State for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock said that “The Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland is clear evidence of the potential benefits offered by this Government’s substantial investment in applied research. Stem cell technology, developed in the first instance to help patients with diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and critical limb ischemia, can also create sustainable growth and jobs in Ireland’s smart economy by making researchers’ visions a reality.” The Minister also said “the facility will play a key role in ensuring REMEDI’s continued success in EU funding initiatives, in particular Horizon 2020”. The Minister added that the Government, through SFI, will work to ensure that Ireland maximises its participation in the Horizon 2020 programme. Speaking at the launch, Professor Tim O’Brien, Director of the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland said “the presence of this facility in Ireland positions us well to develop new therapies for a broad array of clinical problems which do not have effective treatments today.  It will also allow us to translate discoveries from the basic stem cell research programme led by Professor Frank Barry at the Science Foundation Ireland-funded REMEDI to the clinic and to be competitive for grant funding under the Horizon 2020 programme of the EU.”   John O’Dea, Board member of the Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA) said “revenue from Regenerative Medicine products was approximately $1.3bn in 2013, with sales growth of 40% in 2013 alone. Nearly $1.4bn was invested in companies in this space in 2013. The Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland is a key step in the demonstration of national competence in this space and I look forward to seeing its continued growth to assist in developing the skillsets and techniques that will be needed to embrace the new manufacturing opportunities that this exciting area will bring.” In addition to stem cell manufacture, Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) are offering a custom ATMP (advanced therapeutic medicinal product) manufacturing service to industry and also a cleanroom leasing service to Irish SMEs who often have difficulty in procuring cleanroom space. -ends- Osclaíonn an tAire Sherlock an Chéad Saoráid Déantúsaíochta Gascheall d’Úsáid an Duine in OÉ Gaillimh Is é an tIonad do Dhéantúsaíocht Ceall Éireann in OÉ Gaillimh an chéad saoráid dá leithéid ar oileán na hÉireann Is é an tIonad do Dhéantúsaíocht Ceall Éireann in OÉ Gaillimh an chéad saoráid dá leithéid ar oileán na hÉireann a bhfuil ceadúnas faighte aige ó Bhord Leigheasra na hÉireann chun gaschealla saothráin-forbartha a dhéanamh d’úsáid an duine. De bharr na saoráide seo i nGaillimh, a d’oscail an tAire Seán Sherlock inniu, tá Éire mar imreoir domhanda i réimse an leighis athghiniúnaigh agus is forbairt shuntasach í seo don earnáil leighis-teicneolaíochta ar an iomlán.  Is iomaí galar daonna a mbaineann cóir leighis neamhleor nó neamhéifeachtach leis, agus ó 2004 i leith tá taighdeoirí in Institiúid an Leighis Athghiniúnaigh (REMEDI) in OÉ Gaillimh ag obair le teiripí nua a fhorbairt chun dul i ngleic le réimsí éagsúla leighis nach bhfuil aon fhreastal déanta orthu. D’fhonn aon teiripe nua don duine a fhorbairt, caithfear an chóireáil a thástáil ar dtús ar mhaithe le sábháilteacht agus le héifeachtúlacht i sraith trialacha cliniciúla.  Le roinnt blianta anuas tá an tIonad do Dhéantúsaíocht Ceall Éireann forbartha ag REMEDI, saoráid a tógadh go sonrach chun gaschealla a fhorbairt le húsáid i dtrialacha cliniciúla daonna.  Tá creidiúnú bainte amach anois ag an Ionad do Dhéantúsaíocht Ceall Éireann agus é mar aidhm aige gaschealla a sholáthar le húsáid i dtrialacha cliniciúla tar éis cead rialúcháin a fháil de bharr sonraí réamhchliniciúla a chuir REMEDI ar fáil.  Tagann fógra an lae inniu ag an am céanna is atá pleananna idir lámha don chéad triail chliniciúil a úsáidfidh gaschealla de chuid an Ionaid do Dhéantúsaíocht Ceall Éireann atá á maoiniú ag an mBord Taighde Sláinte agus ag Fondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann. Déanfaidh sé iniúchadh ar an tsábháilteacht a bhaineann le gaschealla méiseincíoma (MSCanna) a fhaightear ón smior a úsáid chun cóireáil a dhéanamh ar iscéime géag criticiúil, aimhréidh chomónta a bhaineann le diaibéiteas agus a mbíonn teascadh géag dá bharr go minic.  Caithfear MSCanna a fhás sa tsaotharlann chun méid dóthanach a ghiniúint tar éis dóibh a bheith ar leithlis ó smior deontóirí fásta. Dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh an Dr Jim Browne: “agus é ag forbairt ról na Gaillimhe mar lárionad leighis agus teicneolaíochta ar sheasamh domhanda, léiríonn an tIonad do Dhéantúsaíocht Ceall Éireann tiomantas OÉ Gaillimh smaointe teanntásacha a chur i bhfeidhm. Is féidir leis an nuálaíocht an bearna idir an t-othar agus an soláthróir a laghdú agus freastal ar riachtanais an tionscail agus an phobail níos leithne ar bhealach cothrom.”     Dúirt an tAire Taighde agus Nuálaíochta Seán Sherlock, “Is fianaise soiléir é an tIonad do Dhéantúsaíocht Ceall Éireann ar na buntáistí féideartha atá ar fáil de bharr infheistíocht shuntasach an Rialtais seo i dtaighde fheidhmeach. Forbraíodh teicneolaíocht gascheall den chéad uair le cabhrú le hothair a raibh galair cosúil le diaibéiteas, airtríteas, galar croí agus iscéime géag criticiúil ag gabháil dóibh, agus is féidir leis an teicneolaíocht seo cur le fás agus le fostaíocht i ngeilleagar glic na hÉireann trí fhíseanna taighdeoirí a chur i bhfeidhm.” Dúirt na tAire chomh maith “beidh ról lárnach ag an tsaoráid i gcinntiú go leanfaidh REMEDI ar aghaidh leis an dea-obair i dtionscnaimh mhaoinithe de chuid an AE, ‘Fís 2020’ go háirithe”. Luaigh an tAire chomh maith go mbeidh an Rialtas ag obair, trí Fhondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann, le cinntiú go dtapóidh Éire gach deis as a rannpháirtíocht sa chlár ‘Fís 2020’. Ag labhairt dó ag an seoladh, dúirt an tOllamh Tim O’Brien, Stiúrthóir an Ionaid do Dhéantúsaíocht Ceall Éireann, “mar gheall go bhfuil an tsaoráid seo lonnaithe in Éirinn táimid i suíomh maith le teiripí nua a fhorbairt do réimse leathan fadhbanna cliniciúla nach bhfuil cóireáil éifeachtach ar fáil dóibh faoi láthair.  Tabharfaidh sé deis dúinn chomh maith fionnachtana ón mbunchlár taighde ar ghaschealla atá á stiúradh ag an Ollamh Frank Berry in REMEDI, atá á mhaoiniú ag Fondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann, a thabhairt ar aghaidh chuig an gclinic agus a bheith san iomaíocht do mhaoiniú deontais faoi chlár an AE ‘Fís 2020’.”   Dúirt John O’Dea, comhalta Boird ar an Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA) “rinneadh ioncam thart ar $1.3bn in 2013 as táirgí a bhain le Leigheas Athghiniúnach, agus tháinig fás 40% ar dhíolachán in 2013 as féin. Rinneadh infheistíocht de bheagnach $1.4bn i gcuideachtaí san earnáil seo in 2013. Is céim thábhachtach é an tIonad do Dhéantúsaíocht Ceall Éireann maidir le cumas náisiúnta san earnáil seo a léiriú agus táim ag súil le fás leanúnach a fheiceáil anseo chun cabhrú le tacair scileanna agus teicnící a fhorbairt a bheidh ag teastáil le tabhairt faoi na deiseanna déantúsaíochta nua a thabharfaidh an earnáil nua seo chun cinn.” Chomh maith le déantúsaíocht gascheall, tá an tIonad do Dhéantúsaíocht Ceall Éireann ag cur seirbhís déantúsaíochta do ATMP (ardtáirge míochaine teiripeach) ar fáil don tionscal mar aon le seirbhís chun seomra íonghlan a thabhairt ar léas d’Fhiontair Bheaga agus Mheánmhéide Éireannacha a mbíonn deacracht acu go minic seomra íonghlan a fháil. -críoch-

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway will host a series of Sean-nós Dance workshops in February and March. The workshops will be taught by Gearóid Ó Dubháín, who was recently appointed as NUI Galway Sean-nós Dancer in Residence.   A native of Ardmore, Connemara, Gearóid is renowned for his dancing and has won the prestigious Oireachtas na Samhnna (2010), Craobh na hÉireann (2011), Féile na Mí (2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012), Féile Chóilín Clesham and many other prizes.   The workshops will take place at the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway from 7-8.15pm each Wednesday, beginning on 5 February. The workshops are free of charge and everyone is welcome to attend. For further details, contact Samantha Williams at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends- Ceardlann rince ar an Sean-nós in OÉ Gaillimh Cuirfear tús le sraith de cheardlanna rince ar an sean-nós san Aula Maxima, OÉ Gaillimh ag 7pm, Dé Céadaoin, 5 Feabhra 2014. Is é Gearóid Ó Dubháin, ón Árdmhóir, i gConamara, a bheidh ina stiúrthóir. Tá Gearóid ceaptha mar Rinceoir Cónaitheach ar an Sean-nós san Ollscoil as seo go ceann bliana. Tá cáíl bainte amach ag Gearóid mar damhseoir agus tá go leor duaiseanna bainte amach ag Gearóid ar fud na tíre, ina measc tá Oireachtas na Samhna (2010), Craobh na hÉireann (2011), Féile na Mí (2006, 2008, 2010 agus 2012), Féile Chóilín Clesham (buaite cúpla uair), mar aon le neart comórtais eile. Tá cead isteach saor in aisce agus fáilte roimh chách. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091 492051 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Renowned fiddle player Rónán Galvin to present first lecture of series Comhrá Ceoil and the NUI Galway Centre for Irish Studies have announced details of the third Martin Reilly Lecture Series. Fiddle player Rónán Galvin will present the first talk this year, entitled The Póitín Gathering: two 19th century fiddle players from south-west Donegal, which takes place at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 11 February in the Galway City Library.  Rónán’s talk will focus on Paddy O’Gara and John Mhosaí McGinley from the parish of Glencolumbkille. John Mhosaí was held in the highest regard as a fiddler and composer, and many of his compositions are still played in the repertoire of south-west Donegal. Paddy O'Gara was a fiddler and is also remembered for his stories of the supernatural. The talk will explore primary sources from Glencolumbkille in addition to material held at the National Folklore Collection (NFC) with music composed by both fiddlers performed during the lecture. Rónán Galvin is Dublin-born but closely connected with the Donegal tradition of fiddle playing through his parents, both of whom are from south-west Donegal. He teaches annually at the Glencolmcille Fiddle School as well as at various workshops throughout the year. Rónán works with the NFC and was awarded an MA in Irish Folklore. He is involved in projects at the NFC including ‘Captured by Song: Images from the song collector Tom Munnelly’ and is currently treasurer of the Folklore of Ireland Society. This lecture series dedicated to Martin Reilly, the celebrated East Galway uilleann piper, gives an opportunity to researcher-practitioners in Irish traditional music and dance to present their work in a public forum. The success of the previous lectures in 2012 and 2013 confirms the interest in research of this kind here in Galway, where traditional music and dance are part of the cultural fabric of the city. Admission is free to all talks in the Martin Reilly Lecture Series. Further information on this and other planned talks in the series available by emailing Martinreillylectureseries@gmail.com, or Facebook: Martin-Reilly-Lecture-Series -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Dr Kieran O’Conor, Lecturer in Archaeology, launched the 14th annual NUI Galway Arts Festival programme, Múscailt, last night (Monday, 27 January). The Festival, which runs from 10-14 February, will contain a superb programme of music, art, spectacle, performance and literature, with many free events to which the public are welcome. Speaking at the launch, Dr O’Conor said: “NUI Galway has unique art research modules in the disciplines of Archaeology, Philosophy and Classics and Múscailt offers a chance for us to explore the treasures on offer in the University.” This year’s theme ‘Laugh, Nourish, Love’features artists at play. On Tuesday, 11 February, A Victorian Funfair will take place in the Mechanical Soils Lab, a Victorian Building, from 12-5pm, allowing guests to enjoy a walk back in time to learn more about the Victorian art, science, literature and pastimes, all recreated with fun and games by the popular new Victorian Society at NUI Galway. NUI Galway’s Knitting and Crochet Group have created an enormous doily named ‘Doily-icious’, which will hang in Áras na Mac Léinn, alongside a group show of staff and student artists entitled ‘Wonder’. Throughout the week, Artist Joe McCaul will be doing free self portraits of those who want to sit for him in the atrium of Áras na Mac Léinn. All the new portraits he paints during Múscailt will be added to the walls and be on show in the atrium until 1 March. The Mechanical Soils Lab, next to the Bank of Ireland Theatre, will act as a magnificent Exhibition Space in which the works of three artists will be on view. NUI Galway is honoured to have, on loan, five large paintings by the late Sharon O’Malley, a singular, internationally established artist with close links to Galway who held a life-long interest in classical mythology. Additionally, Susanne Keane will present ‘Where Sea meets Sky’, an exhibition of atmospheric, abstract, seascapes, painted with swathes of bright colours. And Joe McCaul will show a selection of his new and recent portraits and sculptures. All the exhibitions will run until 1 March. Events include: Two illustrated visual art lectures will take place on Wednesday, 12 February from 11am-1pm, with artist Joe McCaul, who will deliver an illustrated lecture on portraiture entitled ‘Getting A Head’ and Conor Newman, Chair of The Heritage Council and Lecturer in Archaeology at NUI Galway, will give a presentation on Insular Art (early Medieval), entitled ‘Portraiture through Possessions’. Ancient Music Ireland members, Simon O’Dwyer and Maria Cullen O’Dwyer, will present and demonstrate a musical exploration through pre-historic instruments up to 700AD on Tuesday, 11 at 8pm in The Cube. Galway University Musical Society (GUMS) will perform the musical, ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’,at the Black Box Theatre from 11-15 February. This colourful comedy takes place in the glitz and glamour of the 1920s with frantic preparations for a wedding. On Tuesday, 11 February at 8pm the Witless Band Competition Final will take place in the Student Union Bar with judges and public vote deciding the winning act. Arts in Action presents remarkable young musician Padraic Keane on uileann pipes, accompanied by his sisters Maisie-Kate and Siobhán on fiddles. ‘Hello, Delia Murphy’, a show on the iconic Irish ballad singer Delia Murphy, written by her niece Carmen Cullen. ‘Hello, Delia Murphy, will include a dramatised reading and family photographs, among the songs performed by Carmen Cullen and Máirín O’Donovan with accompaniment by musician Gerry Anderson. Celebrating its fifth year, the ‘Solo Show: Múscailt Monologues’includes new writing and performance from NUI Galway’s students and staff and visitors. ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ by Oscar Wilde, featuring a powerful performance by Rab Swannock and directed by Sandra Coffey, is back by popular demand after a successful début in the inaugural Oscar Wilde festival last October. Dramsoc will perform the show ‘Overcast Teacups’. Colours Street Theatre will début their new show, ‘The Seat,’ written and performed by James Fleming. Múscailt will also see the launch of ‘Jumbo Wants to be a Hippo’, a children’s story by Lionel Gallagher with illustrations by Marina Wild. Galway based storyteller, author, poet, playwright and performer, Rab Swannock Fulton will read from his sci-fi blog-novel ‘Marcus Marcus and the Hurting Heart’. NUI Galway President, Jim Browne extends an open invitation to the public to attend the closing event of Múscailt, ‘The Galway Music Residency-NUI Galway Sponsor’s Concert’, at 1pm on Friday, 14  February in the Bailey Allen Hall. The specially chosen programme for Valentine’s Day, ‘Viennese Classics’, includes works by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert, performed by Galway Ensemble in Residence, ConTempo Quartet. Special Guests, Triko Cirkus Teatar, from Croatia, who starred in Múscailt 2013 will present a new Clown Cabaret with performers and traditional musicians from NUI Galway featuring alongside Triko clowns in ‘Night of the Living Clown’, written and directed by Lee DeLong to a live musical score. Specially prepared for Múscailt The Cabaret will be performed for three nights in An Taibhdhearc, under the banner ‘Múscailt-Clown Cabaret’, on 27, 28 February and 1 March. Commenting on this year's line up, Fionnuala Gallagher, NUI Galway Arts Officer said: “Our theme this year, ‘Laugh, Nourish, Love’allows us to look within, have a laugh and highlight our strengths in all of the art-forms. Everyone is welcome to participate.” All exhibitions are open Monday to Saturday until 1 March. For a copy of the programme or further information contact the Arts Office at 091 493766 or 091 495098, or visit www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie. Tickets for events will be available from the Socsbox at 091 492852 or socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. Tickets for the ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ are also available from Town Hall Theatre www.tht.ie or 091 569777. ‘Múscailt-Clown Cabaret’ tickets are available from An Taibhdhearc www.antaibhdhearc.com or 091 562024. -Ends- Múscailt - an 14ú Féile Ealaíon Bhliantúil seolta ag OÉ Gaillimh Sheol an Dr Kieran O’Conor, Léachtóir le Seandálaíocht, an clár do 14ú Féile Ealaíon Bhliantúil OÉ Gaillimh, Múscailt, aréir (Dé Luain, 27 Eanáir). Beidh an Fhéile ar siúl 10-14 Feabhra, le clár iontach ceoil, ealaíon, seónna, taibhithe agus litríochta. Beidh go leor de na himeachtaí saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách a bheith i láthair. Ag labhairt dó ag an seoladh, dúirt an Dr O’Conor: “Tá modúil taighde ealaíon ar leith ar fáil in OÉ Gaillimh i ndisciplíní na Seandálaíochta, na Fealsúnachta agus an Léinn Chlasaicigh agus deis é Múscailt an saibhreas atá le fáil san Ollscoil a bhlaiseadh.” Léiríonn téama na bliana seo ‘Gáire, Cothú, Grá’ ealaíontóirí ag baint sásaimh as a gceird. Dé Máirt, an 11 Feabhra, beidh Aonach Siamsaíochta Victeoireach i Saotharlann na nIthreacha Meicniúla, Foirgneamh Victeoireach, idir 12-5pm. Tabharfaidh Cumann Victeoireach OÉ Gaillimh blaiseadh do chuairteoirí d’ealaín, d’eolaíocht, de litríocht agus de chaitheamh aimsire Victeoiriach, ar bhealach spraíúil. Tá mionscaraoid mhór mhillteach déanta ag Grúpa Cniotála agus Cróise OÉ Gaillimh dar teideal ‘Doily-icious’ a bheidh ar crochadh in Áras na Mac Léinn, mar aon le taispeántas grúpa comhaltaí foirne agus mac léinn dar teideal ‘Wonder’. I rith na seachtaine, beidh an t-ealaíontóir Joe McCaul ag déanamh portráidí saor in aisce de dhaoine ar spéis leo é i bhforhalla Áras na Mac Léinn. Beidh na portráidí nua ar fad a phéinteálfaidh sé i rith Múscailt le crochadh ar na ballaí agus beidh siad ar taispeáint san fhorhalla go dtí an 1 Márta. Beidh spás iontach Taispeántais i Saotharlann na nIthreacha Meicniúla, béal dorais d’Amharclann Bhanc na hÉireann, agus beidh saothar triúr ealaíontóirí ar taispeáint ann. Is mór an onóir do OÉ Gaillimh cúig phictiúr mhóra le Sharon O’Malley, nach maireann, a bheith ar iasacht againn. Ealaíontóir mór le rá idirnáisiúnta a bhí inti a raibh dlúthcheangal aici le Gaillimh agus a raibh suim riamh aici sa mhiotaseolaíocht chlasaiceach. Chomh maith leis sin, cuirfidh Susanne Keane ‘Where Sea meets Sky’ inár láthair, taispeántas radharc mara atá atmaisféarach agus teibí agus péinteáilte i ndathanna lonracha. Agus cuirfidh Joe McCaul roinnt portráidí nua agus dealbha ar taispeáint. Beidh na taispeántais ar fad ar siúl go dtí an 1 Márta. I measc na n-imeachtaí beidh siad seo a leanas: Beidh dhá léacht amharcealaíon ar siúl Dé Céadaoin, an 12 Feabhra idir 11am-1pm. Ceann leis an ealaíontóir Joe McCaul ar an bportráidíocht dar teideal ‘Getting A Head’ agus ceann le Conor Newman, Cathaoirleach na Comhairle Oidhreachta agus Léachtóir le Seandálaíocht in OÉ Gaillimh a dhéanfaidh cur síos ar an Ealaín Oileánach (Luath-Mheánaois), dar teideal ‘Portraiture through Possessions’. Déanfaidh beirt ó Cheol Ársa na hÉireann, Simon O’Dwyer agus Maria Cullen O’Dwyer, cur i láthair ar uirlisí ceoil réamhstairiúla go dtí 700AD Dé Máirt, 11 Feabhra ag 8pm in The Cube. Cuirfidh Cumann Ceoldrámaíochta Ollscoil na Gaillimhe (GUMS) an ceoldráma, ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’,ar stáitse sa Dubhlann idir 11-15 Feabhra. Tá an scéal grinn seo suite i laethanta geala na 1920idí agus daoine ag ullmhú do bhainis. Beidh craobhchomórtas na mBannaí Witless ar siúl i mBeár Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn Dé Máirt, an 11 Feabhra ag 8pm agus roghnóidh moltóirí agus an pobal na buaiteoirí. Cuirfidh Arts in Action an ceoltóir óg Padraic Keane i láthair ar an bpíb uilleann, agus é á thionlacan ag a chuid deirfiúracha Maisie-Kate agus Siobhán ar an bhfidil. An seó ‘Hello, Delia Murphy’, faoin amhránaí bailéad Éireannach mór le rá Delia Murphy, a scríobh a neacht, Carmen Cullen. Beidh léitheoireacht dhrámata agus grianghraif an teaghlaigh mar chuid de ‘Hello, Delia Murphy’. Casfaidh Carmen Cullen agus Máirín O’Donovan amhráin agus beidh siad á dtionlacan ag an gceoltóir Gerry Anderson. Don chúigiú bliain, tá saothar nua ó mhic léinn, ó chomhaltaí foirne agus ó chuairteoirí OÉ Gaillimh sa ‘Seó Aonair: Monalóga Múscailt’. Bhí an-éileamh ar ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ le Oscar Wilde, ina raibh páirt an-láidir ag Rab Swannock faoi stiúir Sandra Coffey, ag an gcéad fhéile Oscar Wilde i nDeireadh Fómhair agus tá sé á thabhairt ar ais arís dá bharr. Cuirfidh Dramsoc an seó ‘Overcast Teacups’ ar stáitse. Cuirfidh Colours Street Theatre a gcéad seó, ‘The Seat,’ ar stáitse, scríofa agus curtha i láthair ag James Fleming. Seolfar ‘Jumbo Wants to be a Hippo’ chomh maith ag Múscailt. Is scéal é seo do ghasúir a scríobh Lionel Gallagher agus is í Marina Wild a rinne na léaráidí. Léifidh an scéalaí, údar, file, drámadóir agus taibheoir, Rab Swannock Fulton atá lonnaithe i nGaillimh óna bhlagúrscéal ficsin eolaíochta ‘Marcus Marcus and the Hurting Heart’. Mar sméar mhullaigh ar Mhúscailt, ba mhaith le hUachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, Jim Browne, cuireadh oscailte a thabhairt don phobal freastal ar Cheol Cónaitheach na Gaillimhe - Ceolchoirm Urraitheoirí OÉ Gaillimh, ag 1pm Dé hAoine, an 14 Feabhra i Halla Bailey Allen. Tá clár speisialta roghnaithe do Lá Fhéile Vailintín, ‘Clasaicí Vín’, ina mbeidh saothar Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven agus Schubert le cloisteáil ó Ensemble Cónaitheach na Gaillimhe, ConTempo Quartet. Cuirfidh na haíonna speisialta, Triko Cirkus Teatar, as an gCróit, a bhí ina réaltaí ag Múscailt 2013, Cabaret Cábóige nua ar stáitse le taibhithe agus ceoltóirí traidisiúnta as OÉ Gaillimh i gcuideachta chábóga Triko in ‘Night of the Living Clown’, scríofa agus stúrtha ag Lee DeLong le scór beo ceoil. Cuireadh an Cabaret le chéile go speisialta do Mhúscailt agus beidh sé ar siúl ar feadh trí oíche sa Taibhdhearc, faoin teideal ‘Múscailt-Cabaret Cábóige’, an 27, 28 Feabhra agus an 1 Márta. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Fionnuala Gallagher, Oifigeach Ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh, faoi chlár na bliana seo: “Tabharfaidh téama na bliana seo, ‘Gáire, Cothú, Grá’ deis machnaimh agus gáire dúinn, agus léireoidh sí ár láidreachtaí sna foirmeacha ealaíne ar fad. Tá fáilte roimh chách a bheith páirteach.” Beidh na taispeántais ar fad oscailte Luan go Satharn go dtí an 1 Márta. Tá cóip den chlár nó eolas breise le fáil ón Oifig Ealaíon ar 091 493766 nó 091 495098, nó téigh chuig www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie. Beidh ticéid do na himeachtaí ar fáil ón Socsbox ag 091 492852 nó socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. Tá ticéid ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ ar fáil ó Amharclann na Cathrach chomh maith www.tht.ie nó 091 569777. Tá ticéid ‘Múscailt-Cabaret Cábóige’ ar fáil ón Taibhdhearc www.antaibhdhearc.com nó 091 562024. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

CONSENSUS, a research project on sustainable consumption involving NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin researchers, has successfully been awarded an additional €454,000 in funding from the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to carry out further research. It is the first all-island, large-scale research project examining solutions for sustainable consumption in Irish households with more than €1.4 million invested since 2009. CONSENSUS (Consumption Environment Sustainability) will feature on RTÉ’s Eco Eye programme this evening, Tuesday 28th January at 7pm. This episode ‘2050’ is based on the question; “What will the world look like in 2050 and what will these changes mean for us in Ireland?” On the programme, CONSENSUS team members, including Dr. Henrike Rau from the School of Political Science and Sociology, will be discussing how our everyday lives might evolve in the future to reduce our impact on the environment through cultural change, technology and policy innovation. Some of the research found to date includes Persistent Gaps between Water Consumption Concerns and Actions where 80% of respondents stated there was a need to conserve water and 43% felt that they could save more water. Research also found High Levels of Environmental Concern, with 86% stating they were concerned about environmental issues. There was also an Awareness of Food Waste with 89% trying to reduce food waste and 46% composting their food waste. Research also showed High Levels of Car Dependency, with 71% commuting to work, school or college by car and 7% using public transport to commute. Respondents stated A Desire for Government Action on Energy Issues, with 38% saying they would like to source more energy from renewable sources and 14% would like more environmental protection laws. The project’s innovative and collaborative research initiatives have involved stakeholders in the Republic and Northern Ireland along with over 2,000 members from the public. Today, CONSENSUS is announcing its next phase of research, CONSENSUS#2, which will run until December 2015 and will test novel methodologies for identifying and supporting innovations for sustainable consumption practices. It examines innovative and radical actions that society, government and business can address to achieve sustainable household consumption. One aspect of the research will be the development of a lifestyle segmentation model that will identify different segments of the population according to their environmental actions and attitudes. Speaking about the benefits of this research, Dr. Frances Fahy, Department of Geography at NUI Galway commented, “This research will assist in the development of tailored educational, policy and social media initiatives for sustainable behaviours in Ireland, helping to improve their effectiveness. The segmentation model will be basedon the results of our survey of 1,500 people across Ireland, North and South.” The first phase of CONSENSUS also revealed changes in people’s consumption behavior across the life course. CONSENSUS#2 will investigate how certain life events, for example moving home or having a baby can affect consumption activities in relation to physical mobility, including car ownership and use and routes people choose for their daily travel. It will also make recommendations on how to develop effective policies that focus on these life events to encourage more sustainable mobility practices like cycling, walking and public transport use. Dr. Henrike Rau, Environmental Sociologist at NUI Galway and leader of mobility-related research in CONSENSUS#2 states, “We know that people’s consumption habits can change dramatically in response to major life events such as moving to a new place, the transition from education to employment or the arrival of the first child. Our research will focus on whether and how people’s physical mobility change around these events.” Another goal of CONSENSUS#2 will be the establishment of “Living Labs” with Irish householders to trial and evaluate new, sustainable ways of carrying out everyday washing and eating practices. To find out more about CONSENSUS visit www.consensus.ie and to see a short animation video on the Lifestyle Survey visit www.consensus.ie/lifestyle-survey/ -ends-

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald this morning (28 January) launches new Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) research on Young People, Alcohol and Sex, undertaken by Pádraig MacNeela and his research team in NUI Galway. Fiona Neary, RCNI Executive Director said, ‘this report tells us that without Government action rapes that can be prevented will continue to occur.  The findings are so shocking that the government must immediately take action to prevent further sexual violence. Therefore  RCNI today also launches ‘The Older Child and Sexual Violence: Questions and Challenges in delivering a national response,’ which is a pathway for our government to address the serious gaps and failings in the protection of older children from sexual violence. This research is relentless in demonstrating young people’s inability to talk about sex, never mind negotiate consent. The young people who took part in this research told us they were wholly unprepared for the task of negotiating sexual consent and thus were at risk of sexual violence. Naming crimes of rape and sexual violence remains very difficult for young people, other than in a far too narrow, uninformed manner. Growing up in a binge drinking culture for young Irish people means that reporting crimes and concerns to the appropriate authorities is rarely seen as an option – leaving young sex offenders free to reoffend causing trauma and lifelong harm to others. Decreasing sexual violence is possible and our strategy document shows the way. This will only happen however with sustained resources and actions, in combination across Government agencies. There is little evidence of this at present in relation to the older child. At today’s seminar Dr. Pádraig MacNeela’s will present the stark findings of his research. We are delighted to have with us one of the most published authors on the area of sexual violence and alcohol Dr. Antonia Abbey, from Wayne State University, Michigan, to further guide us in international evidence and best practice. After which Rape Crisis Network brings to you our reflections on the policy implications of this and previous research. The Full Report, Summary of Findings and Recommendations and RCNI Policy Document will be available on www.rcni.ie

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Today, during the Belfast run of The Colleen Bawn, Druid Theatre Company and NUI Galway announced a new Druid Academy, to transform Drama and Theatre teaching in Ireland, as part of a 10 year partnership between the two organisations. Part of the Centre for Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, the Druid Academy covers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Drama, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, as well as PhD research opportunities.  The Druid Academy will provide training in drama that meets best international practice while also embedding the values associated with Druid Theatre into the teaching curriculum. Borne out of a vision to create excellent theatre, teaching in the Druid Academy will follow the Druid approach, focusing on ensemble as a mode of performance, rigorous critical analysis of theatre, by both practitioners and audiences, and an awareness of the importance of audience, in a variety of locations: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Speaking at the launch of the Druid Academy, Professor Patrick Lonergan, Head of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “The Druid Academy allows us to bring the best of the University together with the best of the Irish theatre world. Druid have for many years showed that Galway can be a wonderful place to create theatre – and that it can be an ideal base to bring new Irish drama to audiences all over the world. By working with Druid, we will be able to foster new generations of theatre-makers and playwrights, who will change the way we produce drama in Galway, Ireland, and the world”. Led by Tony Award-winning Director, Dr Garry Hynes, Druid staff will work alongside NUI Galway's Drama and Theatre scholars to provide world-class training in directing, design, playwriting, and many other areas of theatre studies. In a partnership that will see close integration between Druid staff and NUI Galway Drama scholars, Dr Garry Hynes takes up the role of Adjunct Professor at NUI Galway, with Drama students benefitting from regular workshops and master classes with the renowned Theatre Director. The Druid Academy will also feature other Druid staff including the Druid Director-in-Residence, Thomas Conway. Thomas, a practising professional director and dramaturge, will have particular responsibility for developing the performance elements of the Druid Academy. The Druid Director-in-Residence will play a key role in building relationships between Druid staff and NUI Galway Drama and theatre students and in developing the practice and performance aspects of the Drama curriculum. Attending the launch of the Druid Academy, Belfast-born actor, Marty Rea, did a dramatic reading of Lucy Caldwall’s LEAVES with NUI Galway Donegal student, Bridín Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh.  Commenting on the benefits of the Druid Academy, Marty Rea said: “There is a beautiful legacy in the fact that Druid was a company founded in Galway, by NUI Galway students, and that it will be passing the baton on to new generations of theatre students in Galway - strengthening the endeavour of establishing Galway city as a centre of Irish and international theatre excellence.” The Academy will also lead to the development of new courses, including three new MA programmes. These are in Irish Drama, Writing for Theatre, and Theatre Practice and Production. NUI Galway also offers a part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies, and has two very popular undergraduate Drama programmes. Students of the Druid Academy will gain a unique insight into the world of professional theatre when they get the opportunity to stage an annual professional-standard production, directed by the Druid Director-in-Residence.  Artistic Director of Druid, Dr Garry Hynes, said: “This is a very significant relationship not just for Druid but for Irish Theatre generally. I am really looking forward to working with my colleagues both in Druid and NUI Galway in seeing this relationship flourish". The relationship between NUI Galway and Druid is a long and fruitful one. The company was founded on campus in 1975 by graduates Marie Mullen, Garry Hynes and the late Mick Lally. Through the years the two organisations have collaborated at various times including notably the housing of the Druid archive at the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and the establishment of a playwriting award in memory of the late Jerome Hynes who was General Manager of Druid at a formative stage in the company's development. The three founders, as well as being graduates, have all been awarded Honorary Degrees by the University. Three years ago that relationship was formalised into a strategic partnership that saw Druid and NUI Galway join forces to train the next generation of theatre-makers. Today that partnership moves on to a new level with the announcement of the Druid Academy. Commenting at the launch, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The development of Drama and Theatre Studies represents a natural fit for NUI Galway given the vibrant theatre world in Galway. Our Drama and Theatre offering has gone from strength to strength thanks to a unique collaboration with world-class theatre-makers like Druid.  The Druid Academy represents the culmination of a long and fruitful partnership between Druid and NUI Galway and provides our students with unique access to some of Ireland’s leading theatre-makers”. Students interested in finding out more about programmes in the Druid Academy should visit: www.nuigalway.ie/drama

Friday, 31 January 2014

Research led by NUI Galway and the University of Aberdeen published in the Journal of Cell Science Professor Sanbing Shen of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway has led a multi-institutional study which has identified a novel rare risk factor linked with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disorder which although many genetic risk factors have been identified, no effective treatment is available. Professor Shen and his colleagues have identified for the first time that changes in a little known gene called ULK4 were observed in individuals with schizophrenia. Unlike many other genetic studies, Shen and colleagues have also characterised how ULK4 functions in the brain. When levels of ULK4 are decreased, neuronal (brain) cells tend to function less well, leading to reduced synaptic function and other changes which are also known as risk factors of schizophrenia. The scientists were also able to show that ULK4 is essential for the formation of the nerve fibres which connect the two sides of our brains. The research not only demonstrates that ULK4 dysregulation is a risk factor for schizophrenia, but also that ULK4 plays an essential role in proper brain formation. The findings published in the Journal of Cell Science (Thursday, 30th January) were supported by genetic data provided by the International Schizophrenia Consortium, and confirmed using new data generated from other mental illness groups including autism, major depression, and bipolar disorder. Follow up studies already underway in NUI Galway will lead to a better understanding of the disease and how drugs may be developed to target ULK4 for the treatment of mental illness. The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland, NUI Galway, Cunningham Trust, Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance, Medical Research Scotland and the University of Aberdeen. Link to Journal of Cell Science http://jcs.biologists.org/content/127/3/630 -ends-

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Ireland’s Ocean Economy Report shows the sector employed 16,300 and had a turnover of €3.5bn NUI Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has published its second report on Ireland’s Ocean Economy as part of their ongoing process of collection and analysis of marine socio-economic data in Ireland. Results from the report show that in 2010, the direct economic value of the Irish ocean economy was €1.2 billion or approximately 0.8% of GDP. The sector had a turnover of €3.5 billion, and provided employment for approximately 16,300 people (Full Time Equivalent). The report allows for the comparative analysis of the contribution of the marine sector to the national economy in the 2007-2010 period. Summary 2007-2010 Established marine industries such as shipping, maritime transport, marine tourism and marine manufacturing, construction and engineering recorded a significant fall in activity. Sea fisheries experienced a fall in overall turnover but gross value added and employment increased Aquaculture increased turnover and gross value added, but employment fell In comparison with the established marine industries, the emerging marine industries have seen growth. High tech marine products and services, marine biotechnology, bio-products and marine renewable energy all recorded an increase in turnover and employment but gross value added was unchanged or decreased. Marine commerce as an emerging sector saw a significant decrease, in line with the general economy and the international financial markets.    Dr Amaya Vega (SEMRU) said “Our research profiles the ocean economy, as a whole and by sector, in a way that allows us to observe and monitor progress on meeting the targets set out in the Government’s Integrated Marine Plan (IMP) for Ireland - Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth (HOOW) (2012). The full report is available to download online at www.nuigalway.ie/semru/publications.html Based in the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at the National University of Ireland, Galway, SEMRU conducts research in a variety of marine related issues. The main research focus of the unit is on the economic importance of coastal and off-shore marine environments. This involves examining the economic utility of the marine environment (e.g. transportation, recreation) and ecological value (e.g. fisheries, aquaculture) derived from the productivity of associated ecosystems.  The coastal and contiguous marine environment surrounding Ireland and the EU in general provides the geographical focus for the research carried out in the unit. Consideration of the human dimension in the management of marine ecosystems is also a critical component of all research projects undertaken. Since its establishment in 2009, SEMRU has been successful in attracting research funding to support the expansion of its marine socio-economic research programme. The unit is now a partner in a number of European funded projects in the area of the socio-economics of the marine environment. For more information on SEMRU, please visit www.nuigalway.ie/semru/. Ireland’s Ocean Economy Report Series is funded through the Beaufort Marine Research Award, which is carried out under the Sea Change Strategy and the Strategy for Science Technology and Innovation (2006-2013), with the support of the Marine Institute, funded under the Marine Research Sub-Programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013. ENDS

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Dr Ciara Smyth of NUI Galway’s School of Law was presented with a prestigious Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award in Tilburg recently. Nominated by the Law Faculty Board of Leiden University where she graduated with a doctorate, she received the award for her PhD thesis on ‘The Common European Asylum System and the Rights of the Child: An Exploration of Meaning and Compliance’. Commenting on the award, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “Dr Smyth’s work in the broad areas of asylum an immigration is cutting-edge and engaged. This award is concrete evidence of its rich academic value and impact internationally.” The Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award was established in 1995 as an incentive for students and PhD students who have written a thesis or any other academic work in the field of human rights. The award was an initiative of the Law Faculty and Studium Generale of Tilburg University and was joined by the School of Human Rights Research as of 1998.  Since 2002, the Human Rights Award is named after Max van der Stoel, the former OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, in honour of his work in that field. -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The CONSENSUS research project on sustainable consumption has designed a set of exciting video animations on their research. CONSENSUS, five year collaboration between NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin, represents the first comprehensive analysis of sustainable consumption in Irish households on an all-island basis. NUI Galway’s Dr Frances Fahy and Dr Henrike Rau lead CONSENSUS’s lifestyle, governance and mobility research. The new videos provide an overview of CONSENSUS’s key findings and innovative research processes, and coincide with the launch of a brand new project website, www.consensus.ie, containing CONSENSUS’s latest reports, publications and a regularly-updated blog. The website includes animation providing an overview of CONSENSUS's research on sustainable transport, food, energy and water consumption. Another animation discusses CONSENSUS’s collaborative visioning process that re-imagined how we might carry out our daily washing, eating and heating practices in the future. Finally, an animated infographic completes the video set depicting key results from CONSENSUS’s all-Ireland survey of 1,500 households on sustainable consumption. Since its launch in 2009, CONSENSUS has been committed to collaborative research, engaging over 100,000 members of the public and 100 government, private sector, and civil society stakeholders through workshops and interactive exhibits. Postgraduate and Postdoctoral researchers from NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology and School of Geography and Archeology, Mike Hynes and Mary Jo Lavelle are researching CONSENSUS's innovative work on sustainable transport and lifestyles. The short animations can be view here, or for more information on CONSENSUS visit www.consensus.ie  -Ends-  

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The final year of NUI Galway’s undergraduate medical curriculum has been enhanced by an intern teaching programme, which has been developed and delivered in first semester of the current academic year. Newly graduated medical doctors teach NUI Galway’s final year medical students and simultaneously act as mentors and role models. This is achieved ‘by on the ward training’ whereby medical interns teach groups of five medical students and take them through the assessment of common patient presentations they encounter, covering history-taking, examination, clinical reasoning and management skills essential to becoming a competent doctor. Teaching takes place at the bedside, in a clinical context. This initiative was conceived and designed by Drs Jennifer Scott and Miroslawa Gorecka, two recent graduates from the University’s School of Medicine. The teaching is ward based and revolves around bedside and clinical teaching, with 20 interns participating in this programme in semester one. Dr Yvonne Finn, Academic Coordinator, School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “While the concept of intern teaching is not new, this is the first time that it has been developed into a structured programme. This allows teaching to cover topics in each of the key specialities and offers intern teaching to all final medical students who are currently on clinical placements in Galway University Hospitals.” There are plans to continue this Intern-led Teaching Programme into semester two when those students who have been in the Medical Academies in semester one return to Galway. The final medical students will themselves be graduating in June 2014, and it is anticipated that many of them, having experienced the benefit of the Intern-led Teaching Programme, will volunteer their time and skills to teach and thus continue this valuable teaching programme. -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) has been presented with a Medical Technology Industry Excellence Award for 2013. NUI Galway’s Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials has won the 2013 Academic/Emerging Medical Technology Company of the Year-Silver Award, was awarded at a ceremony in Galway recently. The awards, established in 2007, are supported by Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA), Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland and aimed at recognising and promoting outstanding performance in the medical technology sector in Ireland. The NFB is an academia-industry-clinician partnership which has established collaborative projects with a large number of leading medical device companies. These projects focus on trouble-shooting biomaterial-based issues in medical devices such as pre-clinical evaluation of prototypes, and validation of novel medical device technologies through clinician-led innovation. Joint efforts between the NFB and partners address biomaterial-based medical device solutions for unmet clinical niche markets. NFB’s unique biomaterial platform technologies help to enrich companies’ existing portfolios through product enhancements and adding value to their existing technology. Collaborative projects with the NFB add to existing devices through process and solution development and consultative support. The market share, head count and profitability of the NFB’s medical device industry partners represent significant economic benefit to Ireland. Professor Abhay Pandit, NFB Team Leader said, “It is an honour to be recognised at the Med Tech Awards. The NFB prides itself on its collaborations with the medical device industry having engaged with nearly forty companies, licenced one of our extracellular matrix technologies and created a spin out company. We are very thankful that our hard work and achievements have been acknowledged.” -Ends-  

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Startup Galway’s first guest is Pat Phelan, CEO and Founder of Trustev – this week named by Forbes as one of the top 7 Tech Start-ups globally RTÉ Dragon and outgoing Vice President of Cisco Systems Barry O’Sullivan, John Breslin of NUI Galway and co-founder of Boards.ie, John Brosnan, CEO and founder of Netfort Technologies and Michael FitzGerald, CEO and founder of OnePageCRM have come together to create Startup Galway. Startup Galway aims to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Galway and this Thursday December 19 in McSwiggan’s at 8pm its first guest is Pat Phelan, CEO and Founder of Trustev, this week named as one of Forbes’ Magazine Top 7 Tech Startups Globally for 2013. Trustev, a real-time online identity verification service designed to eliminate fraud from e-commerce transactions has raised €3m in seed funding this year. CEO Pat Phelan is a serial entrepreneur in the internet, mobile, and telecoms sectors. It was his own negative experience with online fraud as an e-commerce merchant that led him to develop technologies to address this drain on revenues. RTÉ Dragon Barry O’Sullivan says “Startup Galway is about bringing together the tech community in Galway to share ideas and experience so we can grow successful companies, we want Galway to be the Birthplace of Ambition for future global technology companies.” NUI Galway’s John Breslin says "The presence of several national research labs, including Insight, a new national multi-location Centre for Data Analytics (formerly DERI), and the Irish Marine Institute contribute significantly to the number of PhD students and researchers working in Galway". “We have a great range of tech startups here in Galway, including the likes of OnePageCRM, Ex Ordo, Element Wave, Duolog, Netfort, BuilderEngine, Pocket Anatomy, Altocloud, SpamTitan, Meterlogix, RealSim, Tribal City Interactive and Alison.com. These are in close proximity to larger companies like DigitalOptics Corporation, Cisco, HP, Avaya, SAP, IBM and EA, and are all part of an ecosystem of tech here in the west.” he added. “Galway is well known as a great city to live in, has two excellent colleges, high-tech companies of all sizes with fantastic talent,” says John Brosnan of Netfort Technologies. “The objective of this group is to help develop and encourage the entrepreneurial culture in Galway. We want to build a community and organise regular events where people can learn from and help each other.” “To develop an entrepreneurial culture within Galway, especially amongst tech start-ups, it is essential that we expose what has been achieved already, and then build on it and learn from each other,” says Michael FitzGerald of OnePageCRM. “Startup Galway is the first step towards unifying that local spirit for global gain, showcasing Galway to the world as a great place to start and grow a tech business.” Registration is free for this and future events at www.startupgalway.org -ENDS-

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The €2m European Research Council (ERC) Grant will fund five postdoctoral researchers for five years Dr Marie-Louise Coolahan, Lecturer in English at NUI Galway, has been awarded the highly prestigious Consolidator Grant by the European Research Council. It is the first such award ever made to an Irish researcher in any field of literature, and the only award made in Ireland this year in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The award, of just under €2m, will fund Dr Coolahan and a team of five postdoctoral researchers for a five-year period on her project ‘RECIRC: The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700’. Dr Coolahan’s project will produce a new, large-scale understanding of how women’s writing circulated in the early modern English-speaking world, using the results to analyse how texts, ideas and reputations gained traction. Dr Coolahan says “While there has been an increasing number of case studies on individual women writers in recent years, we have lacked an understanding of how and where women’s writing made an impact on a broader scale. “ The period in question, from 1550-1700, is particularly challenging because writing continued to circulate in manuscript, via handwritten copies, as well as in print. For women, in particular, manuscript circulation was more attractive as it offered a means to circumvent social anxieties about female authorship. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne congratulated Dr Coolahan and said “This is only the second time ever that a researcher in humanities in an Irish University has secured an ERC award. It is, as such, a remarkable achievement, not only for Dr Marie-Louise Coolahan but for the Discipline of English and for NUI Galway as whole.” Although focused on the English-speaking world,  RECIRC will attend to the international context by including writers who were read in Ireland and Britain as well as women who were born and resident in those countries. Dr Coolahan said “RECIRC will provide a comprehensive view of how texts were used and re-used, and of how gender shaped ideas about authorship. The methodologies we develop are designed to be transferable to other languages and geographies, enabling future work on an even larger European scale.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

NUI Galway’s Professor Robert Lahue receives Pharmaceutical Laboratory of the Year award The inaugural Irish Laboratory Awardstook place before an audience of almost 400 scientists drawn from industry, State and education sectors. The awards were supported by Science Foundation Ireland, Teagasc, IDA and media-partnered with the Irish Independent. NUI Galway’s Professor Robert Lahue Pharmaceutical Laboratory of the Year Award for The Lahue Lab, Centre for Chromosome Biology, NUI Galway. The need for the awards was signalled through the volume and diversity of entries. Judging Co-ordinator, Dr Catherine Dempsey, said “These awards were sorely needed. We know from the hugely successful Young Scientists Competition that recognition is a key enabler of fund raising and career progress. With over 100 entries in year one, the size and scope of the Lab Awards took us all a little by surprise. 2014 is going to be even bigger.” The judges said, “The Immune Regulation Group was a very strong collection of fantastic researchers, and was highly rated in one of Ireland’s most competitive areas of research. The group has secured more than €25 million of research grants and has published 155 peer- reviewed papers in the last 20 years.” Full a full review of the winners and to view the awards night video visit www.labawards.ie the official website for the Irish Laboratory Awards 2013. The awards were judged by: Dr Catherine Dempsey- Judging Co-Ordinator Dr Aoife McLysaght, Smurfit Institute of Genetics Dr Barry Heavey, IDA Ireland Dr Kevin Kavanagh, NUIM Dr Fionnuala Hickey, Trinity Health Kidney Centre Leonard Hobbs, Intel Ireland Dr Paul Simmons, Enfer Group Professor Declan McLoughlin, St. Patrick’s University Hospital & TCD Dr Kaye Burgess, Teagasc Food Research Centre Professor John Cryan, UCC Dr Paul Duffy, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Professor Brian Glennon, UCD Mary Mullaghy, ISTA Dr Andrew Roche, ICON Central Laboratories Dr Marie Coggins, NUI Galway Dr Keith O Neill, Enterprise Ireland Dr Graeme Horley, SFI -Ends-

Monday, 16 December 2013

Winning research included work on effect of speed on foetal development and using human skin cells to help heal brain injuries NUI Galway Neuroscience Centre, based within the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway, held its sixth Annual Research Day recently. This meeting showcased the very best of neuroscience research in the University with presentations from undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as post-doctoral research scientists from a number of different disciplines and research centres within the University. The award for the best oral presentation at the meeting was presented by Dr David Finn, Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre, to Ms Kate McDonnell-Dowling (Pharmacology & Therapeutics, NUI Galway) whose work detailed the impact on foetal development of pregnant mothers taking the illicit drug, amphetamine (speed). Mr Martin Madill (Regenerative Medicine Institute, NUI Galway) won the poster presentation prize for presenting his work on the conversion of human skin cells into brain cells to use in repairing the brain after injury. Dr Honorata Kraśkiewicz (Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials) and Sinéad Healy (National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science) won the runner-up prizes for their work on the development of novel drug delivery systems for spinal cord repair and the development of novel systems to study the impact of iron on the pathology of multiple sclerosis. Dr Declan McKernan, organiser of the event, said “The quality and variety of presentations featured here today highlights the promising future that neuroscience research has at NUI Galway”. The presentations included the development of relevant models to study pain, depression and autism, the use of stem cell to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, and investigations into the underlying changes in the brains of patients with schizophrenia or multiple sclerosis. The meeting also featured keynote presentations from Professor Artur Swiergiel from the University of Gdansk in Poland on the brain’s response to chronic stress, as well as presentations from NUI Galway research scientists, Professor Gary Donohoe and Dr Derek Morris, on the psychiatry and genetics of schizophrenia. The meeting coincided with Galway Neuroscience Centre member, Prof. Bob Lahue, winning the Medical Laboratory of the Year and the Pharmaceutical Laboratory of the Year in the Irish Laboratory Awards which were held in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dublin. The mission of the Galway Neuroscience Centre is to develop Neuroscience in Galway through research, education and community initiatives. The Centre is truly multidisciplinary in membership, bringing together researchers from a range of clinical and preclinical disciplines, which enable the investigation of nervous system disease at a number of levels. The Galway Neuroscience Centre gained the status of Centre of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (COEN) after a national and international review process last year. ENDS