Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Ireland’s national Technology Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy (TCBB) at NUI Galway has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton TD of a package of €25 million in funding for the new Dairy Processing Technology Centre. The TCBB will be providing the sustainability pillar of the new Dairy Processing Technology Centre announced this week at Arrabawn Dairies in Nenagh, Co Tipperary. “In our contribution within the Dairy Processing Technology Centre, the TCBB will focus on activities that improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the dairy industry. We will do this through value-added applications for processing wastes and residues to reduce costs, recover resources and improve environmental impact,” said Mr Bart Bonsall, Technology Leader and head of centre, TCBB. NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi commented: “This is very impressive news for TCBB and NUI Galway. With the lifting of European Union milk quotas only weeks away, this is a key investment and industry collaboration announced by Minister Bruton and Enterprise Ireland.” Professor Donal Leech, Dean of the College of Science, NUI Galway is the NUI Galway representative on the board of directors of the new DPTC. -ends-

Monday, 9 February 2015

GiGSoc (Gay in Galway Society) will today launch its third annual Rainbow Week at 7pm in the IT Building. The week, running from 9-13 February, will consist of numerous events to promote LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning and Ally) presence on campus. On Tuesday, there will be an information session on the new Marriage Equality Taskforce. This session is a collaboration between GiGSoc and NUI Galway Student Union for the upcoming Marriage Equality Referendum in May. On Wednesday numerous LGBTQ workshops such as Sexual Health, Trans 101 and LGBTQ and the Law will take place. Jessica Watts, Events Officer of GiGSoc said: “Many of us on the committee attended USI Pink Training in November. We got to hear a number of useful talks on relevant LGBTQ issues. With our workshops, we hope to bring that training to a wider audience on our campus.” The highlight of Rainbow Week is the Rainbow Ball, which takes place on Thursday, 12 February in the Clayton Hotel with tickets available for €35. Some up-and-coming bands will perform on the night, which will be headlined by popular Galwegian drag act Kiki St. Clair.   Sean Reilly, Co-Auditor of GiGSoc, said: “Rainbow Week is about celebrating the diversity of people who identify as LGBTQA. Our objective is to give our members a chance to celebrate their identities with a bit of panache.” Tickets for Rainbow Ball 2015 can be purchased through the SocsBox in Áras na Mac Léinn, or by contacting GiGSoc at gigsoc@socs.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Extension of the Athena SWAN Charter for women in science to the higher education sector in Ireland The Irish universities are working to address gender imbalances in the higher education sector through the extension of the Athena SWAN Charter to Ireland, officially launched today by Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O'Sullivan. Irish Universities Association (IUA) Chief Executive, Ned Costello said: "tackling gender equality needs to be actively pursued and the Athena Swan Charter and Awards are a real force for positive change." During 2015, the UK-based Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) announced that they would, for the first time, make access to their awards system possible outside of the UK by allowing Irish higher education institutions to sign up to the Athena SWAN Charter for women in science from Autumn 2014. Signing the Charter is the first step towards applying for Athena SWAN Awards, which recognise and celebrate good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) in higher education. The first Award applications from Ireland are due by the end of April next, and the universities are currently preparing their submissions. The Irish universities, working with colleagues from across the higher education sector, have played a strong role in facilitating this extension of the Charter and the associated Athena SWAN Awards to Ireland. Applications are rigorously reviewed prior to an award being made, and progress is closely monitored afterwards. Securing an award under the Charter involves the development of an institution-wide Action Plan to improve gender equality and diversity, and putting in place appropriate structures to rigorously monitor progress of the Plan's implementation. The Plan itself must be specific to issues faced by the institution. Experience has shown that active engagement and significant "buy-in" from academic staff and senior management is critical to a Plan's successful implementation. A 2013 external evaluation identified the significant impact of Athena SWAN on organisational structure and culture change in the UK higher education system. The ECU has recently announced the expansion of the Athena SWAN charter to include arts, humanities, social science, business and law departments alongside the current science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine disciplines, a development which is welcomed by the universities.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

New global university ranking, funded by the EU, announces NUI Galway as only one of two Irish Institutions to achieve all-round top scores on International Orientation NUI Galway has been given the highest ranking of four A’s in U-Multirank, an EU Commission-led initiative to measure excellence in higher education and research institutions worldwide. The indicators, published this week across Europe show that NUI Galway ranked highest with an A grade in all four performance indicators of international orientation. These related to teaching and learning, doctoral training, research and the composition of academic staff. These new ‘readymade rankings’ focusing on International Orientation show how 237 Universities in the U-Multirank database perform on internationalisation, using measures spread across teaching and learning, doctoral trainings, international research collaboration and the composition of academic staff. The rankings make this comparison at both the institutional level and in four academic fields: physics, business studies, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Just 27 universities out of the 237 – barely one in ten – achieved all-round top scores in the new institutional level ranking. Professor Brian Hughes, Dean of International Affairs, NUI Galway welcomed the announcement: “NUI Galway is a university that embraces internationalisation in all of its activities. Being connected to the world is part of our everyday reality, and we are delighted to receive this external validation for our international orientation.” U-Multirank is a new global university ranking funded by the European Commission and takes a different approach to existing global rankings of universities; it is multi-dimensional and compares university performance across a range of different activities grading them from “A” (very good) to “E” (weak). It does not produce a league table of the world’s “top” 100 universities based on composite scores. Instead, it allows users to identify a university’s strengths and weaknesses, or the aspects that most interest them. “Achieving four ‘A’ scores for international orientation is a significant achievement. Not many institutions are ever likely to accomplish it,” commented Frans van Vught one of the U-Multirank project leaders. “And it is not necessarily the institutions you would expect that perform best: these rankings identify high-performing universities not captured by other rankings with their heavy research focus." The rankings show that excellence in international orientation is found in widely diverse institutions. The 27 all - round top performing universities come from a wide range of institutions differing in terms of size, sector, mission and age. The 27 top performers are located in 12 different countries. In further rankings news, NUI Galway has been named in the top 100 most international universities in the world 2015 by THE (Times Higher Education) who compiled a list using the “international outlook” indicator of its World University Rankings methodology. All the institutions that feature in the THE World University Rankings 2014-15 top 400 were considered. This measure considers each institution’s percentage of international staff, its international student numbers and the proportion of its research papers published with a co-author from at least one other country. Further information on U-Multirank is available at www.umultirank.org and for THE information see www.timeshighereducation.co.uk -ends-

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

New £1.5 million project to focus on economic and social costs of violence against women and girls A new research project announced today (11 February) is to investigate the social and economic costs of violence against women and girls in developing countries. Led by Dr Nata Duvvury of the National University of Ireland Galway, and funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, the project will give policy-makers ways of estimating the social and economic costs of violence to national economies. NUI Galway will lead an international team comprising Ipsos MORI, London, UK and the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), Washington DC, USA on the GBP£1.5 million, three-year project. The ambitious project will take a multi-disciplinary approach, involving experts in economics and the social sciences, including political science, sociology, gender studies, public health and psychology. The research aims to pinpoint identifiable links between violence against women and girls (VAWG) and the economic impact this has on nations at differing stages of development. The research will be undertaken in three countries – Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan – representing fragile, conflict affected and/or low-middle income states. The project will survey over 4,500 women across those countries and will carry out in-depth interviews with survivors of VAWG. By producing new empirical research and evidence on the economic and social costs of VAWG, the research project will strengthen the argument for resources to implement laws, provide health and social support services and to mobilize communities to shift the social norms that underpin VAWG. The project is part of the UK Department for International Development’s investment of £25 million over five years, in a pioneering violence against women and girls Research and Innovation programme called ‘What Works to Prevent Violence’. Tackling violence against women and girls is a top priority for the UK government. This programme is driving innovation, and will generate ground-breaking new evidence, and inform new prevention programmes on the ground. According to Dr Nata Duvvury, an established global expert in field, and Co-Director of Centre for Global Women’s Studies at the National University of Ireland Galway: “Violence against women and girls is a global issue. We need an immediate, pragmatic, informed and coherent response across nations. We understand today, more than ever before, the debilitating impact it has on individuals, families and communities. What we now need to understand are the myriad impacts of violence on the economy and society, we can then identify which interventions need to be prioritised for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole.” Innovative economic analysis There is growing interest to estimate the socio-economic impact of violence against women in many parts of the world. In a previous study led by Dr Duvvury, on costing domestic violence against women in Vietnam, the estimated loss of productivity, out-of-pocket expenditures, and foregone income for households came to about 3.19% of GDP. The project plans to further advance this frontier using innovative quantitative and qualitative research methods to capture economic and social costs at individual, household, community and national levels. “The importance of the potential research findings to policy makers, practitioners, communities and families cannot be overstated. Building on this evidence is crucial to create a better understanding of the tragic consequences of violence against women and girls – not only as a gross violation of human rights, but as a global economic issue. With such evidence, we have the potential to catalyze investments into the prevention and response to violence against women,” said Stella Mukasa, Director, Gender, Violence and Rights at the International Centre for Research on Women. The research team led by Dr Nata Duvvury at the National University of Ireland Galway includes Dr Stacey Scriver, Post-Doctoral Researcher and Project Coordinator, Global Women’s Studies, Dr Srinivas Raghavendra, Lecturer, School of Business and Economics, Sinead Ashe, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Global Women’s Studies, and Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, NUI Galway. ends

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

World Gold Medallist and Four Time Olympian Olive Loughnane among Awardees NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2015 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 15th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 7 March, 2015 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 90,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President Michael D. Higgins, Rugby great Ciarán FitzGerald, RTÉ broadcaster Sean O’Rourke, Attorney General Máire Whelan, former Creganna CEO, Helen Ryan, Tony Award-winning actress, Marie Mullen and Gráinne Seoige. The winners of the six alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2015: Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - sponsored by AIB - Dr Tom Mitchell, Former Provost, Trinity College Dublin. Alumni Award for Business and Commerce – sponsored by Bank of Ireland - Catriona O’Farrell, Former CEO, Fintrax Group. Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government – sponsored by Bank of Ireland - Ms Justice Carmel Stewart, Judge of the High Court. Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology – sponsored by Aramark - Pearse Mee, IT Entrepreneur, founder of AMT-SYBEX. Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic - Dr Morgan O’Connell, retired Medical Officer for the Royal Navy, Consultant Psychiatrist and specialist in PTSD. Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Galway University Foundation - Olive Loughnane, Olympic athlete and World Champion, Irish race walker. 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 90,000 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-

Monday, 16 February 2015

15 Elite athletes, who meet strict criteria, will be awarded 40 CAO Performance Points for undergraduate courses under the NUI Galway Performance Point Scholarship Scheme Following the success of the inaugural bonus points scheme last year, NUI Galway will again reward elite athletes with 40 CAO Performance Points in recognition of their skill, time and dedication in reaching the highest level of their chosen sport. This is an extension of NUI Galway’s current Elite Athlete Scholarship scheme which includes a subsistence grant, performance supports, gym membership and medical support. The scheme will award 40 Performance Points to a limited number of athletes, applying for undergraduate courses, who meet strict criteria in a number of identified sports. The points will be added to a minimum requirement of 350 CAO Points from a single sitting of the Leaving Certificate in 6 subjects. The scholarship currently does not apply to GY501 Medicine. The closing date for applications is Tuesday, 31st March 2015. NUI Galway Sports Officer Kathy Hynes said: “NUI Galway has enabled and guided student leaders in sport for many years. The Performance Points Scheme will broaden the horizon of achievement both for NUI Galway and for the athletes themselves. Our facilities, structure and athlete supports help successful candidates achieve their goals, both academic and sporting.” Applicants will be selected through an application form and interview process. The assessment will be based on sporting achievement and potential as well as evidence of their academic achievement and commitment. The successful candidates will then receive a conditional offer of the 40 performance points in May prior to the Leaving Certificate and CAO changes. The ‘Performance Points’ athletes will receive similar benefits to those enjoyed by the current NUI Galway Elite Athlete scholarship scheme. Benefits will include a subsistence grant, performance supports, gym membership and medical support. Supports will be provided for the duration of the undergraduate degree of the successful candidates as per the terms and conditions of the NUI Galway athlete’s charter and will be reviewed on an annual basis. The scheme will only apply to new entrants applying for full-time undergraduate courses at NUI Galway. Applicants must be under 21-years of age on 1st April in the year of application and only sports whose national governing body is recognised by the Irish Sports Council will be considered. For further details see http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 16 February 2015

Professor Pat Finnegan, former Dean of Medicine at NUI Galway and retired respiratory consultant at University College Hospital Galway, was presented with the Irish Thoracic Society Award for Outstanding Contribution to Respiratory Medicine at the Society’s recent Annual Gala Dinner. On presenting the award, friend and colleague Professor JJ Gilmartin paid tribute to Professor Finnegan and outlined the highlights of a career marked by outstanding achievements as both teacher and innovator.   A graduate of University College Galway (now NUI Galway) Professor Finnegan spent the early stages of his career in Birmingham, where he was involved in seminal work in the development of long term oxygen therapy which included use of the first prototype concentrator in the early 1970s. The safe prescription of oxygen therapy, nowadays taken for granted, owes much to those ground-breaking advances. On his return to Galway in 1976 Professor Finnegan applied his skills to the management of patients across the spectrum of respiratory disease. He was a pioneer in the development of non-invasive ventilation, and indeed developed the first home-based NIV programme in Ireland. Professor Finnegan’s vision for and commitment to his patients and to respiratory medicine in Ireland is well illustrated by his extraordinary efforts in obtaining this novel and life saving treatment. It was not until the new millenium that such programmes became common place around the world.  As lecturer, then Professor and later Dean, he has contributed enormously to the development of the Medical School in NUI Galway. Under his direction, the Faculty expanded to embrace Nursing and the Allied Health Professions. His teaching style is epitomised by his hallmark, the bedside tutorial, and as a mentor he was known for being generous with his time and for his astute advice. Professor Finnegan was also a key figure in the development of the Irish Thoracic Society.  In 1985, when the Society evolved from what was previously the Irish Thoracic and Tuberculosis Society and joined forces with members of the Ulster Thoracic Society to become an all-island body, Professor Finnegan was elected as its first President. Professor Finnegan’s retirement has been no less productive albeit in the sphere of history rather than medicine. He is currently completing his third book. The first two entitled The case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879–85 and Loughrea; That Den of Infamy, the Land War in Co Galway 1878-82 were bestsellers in their genre. They are based around incidents during the Land War in East Galway including a grave miscarriage of justice which saw the wrongful conviction for murder of the author’s grandfather, Patrick Finnegan. -Ends-      

Monday, 16 February 2015

Ireland’s First Virtual Choir combining music, song, technology and grads! Do you want to join the NUI Galway Virtual Alumni Choir? In a first for NUI Galway and we believe universities everywhere, we are calling on our graduates to get singing! In a new departure for NUI Galway, a special project has been launched where graduates of the University are invited to form this unique singing experience. Graduates based in Galway, Ireland, Europe, the US and even as far away as Australia are being urged to participate and pull off what will be an ambitious but exciting use of music, song and technology. The choral work to be sung is Ave Verum Corpus composed by Mozart. The piece was chosen due to its familiarity for choral singers around the world but all potential singers to listen to the many recordings available online to hear what the work sounds like when all the parts come together. This may jog the memories of singers who weren’t part of the University Choral Society but may have sung it in other choirs as it’s a firm favourite for choral groups. How to get involvedIn order to participate graduates should visit the alumni website https://nuigvirtualalumnichoir.wordpress.com/ On this website singers will find the musical score, sound recordings of different vocal parts as well as piano accompaniment. From there the singers will be directed to a YouTube video of the piece being conducted by NUI Galway graduate Peter Mannion, current conductor of the University Choral Society and Unitunes, the award winning NUI Galway staff choir. On explaining the virtual project, Peter Mannion said: “This is the first time we have ever attempted virtual singing so we need singers to log online to participate and to send in their recordings as soon as possible. Most computers, laptops, tables and mobile devices have excellent video and sound recording capabilities so there is no special equipment needed for you to get involved – just send in your best recording and we will do the rest. Don’t be afraid to send in video clips or photos of you singing as we will only use them in small parts of the final video. So happy singing!” The choir is expected to debut in early March so don’t be disappointed and log on now https://nuigvirtualalumnichoir.wordpress.com/. ENDS

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

NUI Galway’s School of Education is seeking students to take part in a research study on the university experience of migrant students in Ireland. As one of the first studies of its kind in Ireland, it is important that student’s voices lead the research. Gaining insight to the university experience of migrant students can contribute to a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities within Irish universities in terms of interculturalism and diversity. Research participants will be asked to share their experience of accessing university and their experience as a third-level student. The objective of the study is to gain insight to the needs of students and influence policy in terms of widening participation to third-level education and promoting diversity and interculturalism on the university campus. NUI Galway’s School of Education is currently undertaking lead research in the area of integration with an IRC funded project, Diversity Profiling Initial Teacher Education in Ireland (DITE), a study which explores ways of facilitating entry to the teaching profession for under-represented groups. As NUI Galway continues to contribute to the discussion and debate surrounding the issues of diversity and interculturalism in education, it invites Irish and non-Irish citizens enrolled in an Irish university to take part in this research. Maeve Dunne, NUI Galway PhD student and primary researcher on this study, said: “There is a lot of discussion on the issue of diversity in education, yet very little communication takes place with the students themselves. The main aim of this study is to have student’s voices and opinions heard so that their voice leads the research. This is an opportunity for students to have their say.” Maeve notes that the research so far has uncovered some sensitive issues: “Speaking with students so far, it’s clear that there are some issues that are being highlighted and addressed. Speaking with these students and hearing an honest account of their experiences is important as nothing can be changed unless the issue is highlighted. Yet, protecting the students’ confidentiality and anonymity is of key importance. The students I have spoken to so far tell me they are hesitant to take part in research. Working with the School of Education and the Ethics committee at NUI Galway, our main aim is to protect students and ensure that their best interests are put first. Contributing your story can help educators, policy makers, researchers and universities work towards improved resources for all students.” Those interested in contributing to this study, or for more information, can contact Maeve Dunne at m.dunne1@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Author and lecturer Paddy Woodworth is to give a guest talk titled ‘Writing Restoration: A Global Journey to the Cutting Edge of Conservation Science & Practice’ at NUI Galway on 26 February at 7pm. The talk, part of the ‘Doing Writing’ series organised by the BA and MA programmes in Creative Writing at NUI Galway, will be based on Woodworth’s most recent book, Our Once and Future Planet: Restoring the World in the Climate Change Century, published by Chicago University Press. Ten years in the making, Our Once and Future Planet focuses on projects across the world that attempt to reverse damage to the environment and restore healthy and biodiverse ecosystems. The book has received international acclaim for its extensive research and key arguments, and also for the accessibility of its style. Science magazine emphasised that Woodworth “skillfully dissects the arguments surrounding the purpose and direction of ecological restoration”, while also especially commending his “effective use of narrative techniques to enhance his presentation. His descriptions of the people he meets are often charming and revealing.” Formerly a Visiting Fellow on the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa, and most recently a visiting lecturer at the University of Chicago, Woodworth has published widely on the arts, travel, Basque and Spanish affairs, and national and international environment issues. He regularly writes on these and related areas for The Irish Times. Woodworth also works as an editor for scientists who wish to reach a wide public readership, and he is a mentor for creative writers at NUI Galway working on projects related to factual narration and other forms of creative non-fiction. This public talk will take place on 26 February at NUI Galway in the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies (ground floor, room G010) at 7pm. Booking is not required, but seating may be limited. -ends-

Friday, 20 February 2015

Almost 40 students will be conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by NUI Galway today. During the ceremony the University will also confer an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree on former GAA President, Dr Mick Loftus. A retired coroner and GP, Mick Loftus served as the 28th President of the GAA from 1985 to 1988. As a football player, Dr Loftus played for his native Crossmolina (now Deel Rovers), winning a Mayo Senior Championship medal in 1947, and a Junior medal in 1955. He represented his county at Junior, Minor, and Senior levels, and was captain of the Mayo team that won the 1957 All-Ireland Junior final. He had also been a member of the Mayo team that won the 1951 All-Ireland Senior Football Final. He refereed the All-Ireland Senior Football Final in 1965 and 1968, and the Minor final in 1964. He also participated as Chairperson of the National Referees’ Committee and the Rules Revision Group, and was President of the Connacht Council. Dr Loftus is an advocate for active aging, and was a recipient in the first All-Ireland Inspirational Life Award for his work as chairman of National Council of Aging and Older People, and participated in the 2011 World Senior Games, winning four medals in the 80-85 age group: gold in the 3000m and 400m, silver in the 1500m and 150m. At a previous games, he had broken the world record for 2000m in the 75-79 age group. All Colleges of the University will be represented at the ceremony, with graduands from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, the College of Business, Public Policy and Law; the College of Engineering and Informatics; the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; and the College of Science. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: “I would like to congratulate each graduate on their achievement in earning their doctorate degrees. We in NUI Galway are determined that this University will play its full part in producing the graduates and the leaders who will create the future. We have significantly increased our number of PhD graduates in recent years as we strive to meet the needs of the knowledge and innovation economy. I congratulate our honorary graduate, Dr Mick Loftus who we honour today for his contribution to public life in Ireland as an advocate of healthy living, a campaigner against alcohol abuse and for his leadership in the world of sport.” The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 12 June and the summer conferring on Thursday, 18 June. -Ends- Céim Dhochtúireachta Oinigh le bronnadh ag OÉ Gaillimh ar iar-Uachtarán CLG, an Dr Mick Loftus Bronnfaidh OÉ Gaillimh Dochtúir Fealsúnachta (PhD) ar nach mór 40 mac léinn Dé hAoine, 20 Feabhra. Le linn an tsearmanais sin, chomh maith, bronnfaidh an Ollscoil Dochtúireacht Oinigh le Dlí ar iar-Uachtarán CLG, an Dr Mick Loftus. Cróinéir agus dochtúir teaghlaigh atá ar scor é Mick Loftus agus bhí sé ina Uachtarán ar CLG ó 1985 go dtí 1988. Ba é an t-ochtú Uachtarán agus fiche ar an eagraíocht sin é. Peileadóir a bhí ann a d’imir do Chrois Mhaoilíona (Ruagairí na Daoile mar a thugtar orthu anois), a áit dhúchais. Bhuaigh sé bonn Craoibhe Sinsir Mhaigh Eo i 1947, agus bonn Craoibhe Sóisir i 1955. D’imir sé dá chontae sna Sóisir, sna Mionúir agus sna Sinsir agus bhí sé ina chaptaen ar fhoireann Mhaigh Eo a bhuaigh craobh na hÉireann sna Sóisir i 1957. Bhí sé ar fhoireann Mhaigh Eo a bhuaigh Cluiche Ceannais na hÉireann sa Pheil i 1951 chomh maith. Rinne sé réiteoireacht ar Chluiche Ceannais na hÉireann i 1965 agus 1968, agus ar Chluiche Ceannais na Mionúr i 1964. Bhí sé ina Chathaoirleach ar Choiste Náisiúnta na Réiteoirí agus ar an nGrúpa Athbhreithnithe Rialacha, agus bhí sé ina Uachtarán ar Chomhairle Chonnacht. Bíonn an Dr Loftus ag iarraidh daoine atá ag dul in aois a spreagadh le bheith aclaí. Bronnadh an chéad Ghradam Uile-Éireann as Saol Inspioráideach a Chaitheamh air mar aitheantas as a chuid oibre mar chathaoirleach ar Chomhairle Náisiúnta na nAosach agus na nDaoine Breacaosta. Bhí sé páirteach i gCluichí Seanóirí an Domhain in 2011, agus bhuaigh sé ceithre bhonn san aoisghrúpa idir 80 agus 85 bliain d’aois: bonn óir sa rás 3000m agus sa rás 400m, agus bonn airgid sa rás 1500m agus sa rás 150m. Sna cluichí céanna cúpla bliain roimhe sin, sháraigh sé curiarracht dhomhanda an ráis 2000m san aoisghrúpa idir 75 agus 79 bliain d’aois. Beidh ionadaithe ó gach Coláiste san Ollscoil i láthair ag an searmanas, agus beidh céimeanna á mbronnadh ar mhic léinn ó Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh; ó Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí; ó Choláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice; ó Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Leighis; agus ó Choláiste na hEolaíochta. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le gach céimí as a gcéim dhochtúireachta a bheith bainte amach acu. Tá OÉ Gaillimh diongbháilte de go ndéanfaidh an Ollscoil seo a dícheall chun céimithe agus ceannairí a chur ar fáil a bheidh ábalta cor a chur i gcinniúint na tíre seo. Tá méadú mór ar líon ár gcéimithe PhD le blianta beaga anuas agus táimid ag déanamh ár ndíchill le freastal ar riachtanais gheilleagar an eolais agus na nuálaíochta. Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh lenár gcéimí oinigh, an Dr Mick Loftus. Táimid ag tabhairt ómóis dó inniu as a bhfuil déanta aige don saol poiblí in Éirinn; as dea-shampla a thabhairt do dhaoine le saol sláintiúil a chaitheamh, as a bheith ina fheachtasóir in éadan mí-úsáid alcóil agus as an gceannaireacht atá léirithe aige i saol an spóirt.” Is é bronnadh na gCéimeanna Oinigh an chéad bhronnadh céimeanna eile a bheidh ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh Dé hAoine, 12 Meitheamh agus beidh bronnadh céimeanna an tsamhraidh ar siúl Déardaoin, 18 Meitheamh. -Críoch-

Monday, 23 February 2015

Ireland’s national Technology Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy (TCBB) at NUI Galway has joined Europe’s bioeconomy consortium. TCBB’s application has been approved by the board and general assembly of the Brussels-based Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) as an Associate Member. The BIC is the private partner in the €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership on Bio-based Industries (BBI) with the European Union (EU) to convert biological residues and wastes into greener everyday products. “International household names such as Coca Cola, Unilever and Total are amongst the major industrial players in the Bio-based Industries Consortium. Our membership of the BIC will create new opportunities to promote innovation and to compete for funding to develop Ireland’s bioeconomy. This marks a significant milestone in the development of the NUI Galway-hosted TCBB’s role in facilitating Ireland’s industries to engage and partner with EU-wide companies to recover resources and develop new food products, biomaterials and biochemicals from agricultural wastes, agri-food by-products and forestry and marine residues,” said Mr Bart Bonsall, Technology Leader and head of centre, TCBB. “When you see that Ireland’s food and beverages exports have grown for five consecutive years (by 45% or €3.2 billion since 2009), with milk production set to increase with the imminent lifting of the EU quotas and that Ireland is planning to expand food and forestry production significantly up to the year 2020, it is important that as Ireland’s bioeconomy centre we are directly involved in this type of initiative. Add to the mix that Ireland’s pharma-chemicals industry is the 7th largest exporter globally and you get a picture of how for a small country, we can pursue big opportunities,” added Mr Bonsall. NUI Galway’s Head of the School of Natural Sciences and Principal Investigator with the TCBB, Professor Vincent O’Flaherty commented that: “For the TCBB and NUI Galway as its main co-host, being part of the BIC will provide a new and high-value platform to promote and showcase the bioeconomy-related expertise in TCBB. It will create new opportunities to engage with industry and enterprise across the EU in developing and demonstrating innovative technologies and production systems to bolster Ireland’s exporting capacities.” The BIC will play a key role in bridging the gap between innovation and deployment of biobased products across the European Union. The BIC aims to: leverage Europe's advanced biobased research and technology use renewable resources and innovative technologies for greener everyday products develop underutilised potential of agriculture and forestry residues replace oil-based chemicals and materials with biodegradable, biobased ones diversify and grow farmers' incomes; and generate new industries, revitalise others and create thousands of jobs. ENDS

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Reflecting the growing influence of national and EU policies on farming life, a new course entitled Agricultural Economics and Policy is underway at NUI Galway. Delivered through the Economics discipline at the University, the course is offered as part of the Natural Resource Economics and Policy Masters programme. As well as the Masters students who take this course as an option, the classes are also attended by Teagasc Walsh Fellow PhD candidates based in NUI Galway. The course puts particular focus on public policy analysis related to the development of the Irish agricultural sector and examines challenging policy questions such as the impacts of climate change on the sector, the impacts of EU Common Agricultural Policy reform and the economic concepts and models of relevance that are necessary to understand the global role of agriculture in economic systems. A unique feature of the course is that it is delivered jointly by NUI Galway and Teagasc economists. The Athenry-based Rural Economy and Development Programme (REDP) Teagasc economists Dr Thia Hennessy, Trevor Donnellan and Dr Kevin Hanrahan are delivering a number of lectures on the course. According to the Director of the Natural Resource Economics and Policy Masters programme, Dr Stephen Hynes of NUI Galway: “The participation of the Teagasc economists in the delivery of the course is a great opportunity for the students to see how agricultural economists use the economic tools, learnt during the course, to answer real world agricultural policy questions.” The Masters programme is designed to develop the analytical modelling skills of economics graduates for future employment in private and public sector, enterprises concerned with the environment, agriculture, food, fisheries and other marine resources. “Given that agriculture and food is a key element in the Irish economy and natural resource management is vital for the continued development of the sector it is important that we have students coming through with the tools to analyse the impact of policy and impact of possible environmental changes on the sector,” Dr Hynes added. The head of the Teagasc Rural Economy and Development Programme, Professor Cathal O’Donoghue also sees great merit in the collaborative teaching approach stating: “There is already close ties between the Rural Economy and Development Programme of Teagasc and the Economics Discipline in NUI Galway with many joint research projects underway and a number of Walsh Fellowship PhD students under joint supervision and operating between both campuses; so it is great to see this collaboration extend to the teaching side as well.” For those interested in this subject, the Masters course begins again in September 2015, with application due by the end of June. Further information on the Masters programme is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/courses/taught/natural-resource-economics.html.   -ends-

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Public talk on 5 March at NUI Galway Places associated with Finn mac Cumaill in the Fenian cycle of tales and named after him and his warrior band have an historical reality as important boundary points, hunting grounds and areas of mineral enrichment in medieval and prehistoric times. This concept will be explored further in a public lecture on 5 March by NUI Galway archaeologist, Professor Elizabeth FitzPatrick. Finn mac Cumaill (Finn McCool) and his fían or warrior band are central figures in the literature and oral tradition of Gaelic-speaking peoples of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Landforms and place-names associated with him and his hunting and martial activities include hills such as Seefin (Finn’s seat), Knockfinn (Finn’s Hill) and Formoyle (very bare place), caves such as Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Arran, and causeways like the World Heritage Giant’s Causeway on the Co. Antrim coastline. Tales of Finn reveal that he lives in a strange boundary place, a wilderness at the margins of territories. An examination of places associated with him in the real landscape show that they occur where different rock types meet and where mineral and metal ores are usually found. Red deer frequented such places to obtain their essential mineral licks and so they became important hunting grounds in the past. “These place names are much more important than instances of the survival of Finn folklore. They indicate areas of enriched natural resources and physical boundaries in the landscape,” explains Professor Elizabeth FitzPatrick. The lecture is based on a project in Archaeology at NUI Galway, with NUI Galway’s Dr Ronan Hennessy and Dr Paul Naessens, Professor Joseph Nagy at UCLA, Dr Ruth Carden wildlife ecologist and Dr Matthew Parkes of the National Museum of Ireland. The aim is to produce a digital and print Atlas of Finn mac Cumaill’s Places which will showcase new knowledge about the relationships between archaeology, geology, wildlife ecology, mythology and place-names in landscape and settlement research. Professor FitzPatrick added, “Finn places on the edge of Western Europe may be the most enduring survival of a wider landscape expression of the Celtic place-name ‘vind’ and its associated phenomenon of boundaries and enriched natural resources, extending from Gorumna Island in south Connemara to Galatia in Asia Minor." The public talk will take place on Thursday, 5 March, at 6pm in the Moore Institute Seminar Room, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. -ends-

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

NUI Galway Biomedical Engineering Researchers recently claimed two major national awards. David Nolan, a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Dr Patrick McGarry at the College of Engineering and Informatics, is the 2015 winner of the prestigious Engineers Ireland Biomedical Research Medal, awarded annually to the best PhD level biomedical engineering research in Ireland. This prestigious award and a €1,000 honorarium is sponsored by DePuy Synthes and is adjudicated, based on a research paper and presentation, by an expert panel drawn from academia and industry. David Nolan’s winning paper entails the development of new mathematical and computer models for simulating arteries based on experimental testing of excised arterial tissue. The mechanical behaviour of arteries is particularly complex due to the presence of aligned reinforcing collagen fibres. This new formulation provides improved predictions of the stress state in arteries during the insertion of stents. This research has significant implications for the design of next-generation medical devices. This is the second time that a member of Dr McGarry’s research group has achieved this award in the past four years. The research was performed in collaboration with Professor Michel Destrade and Artur Gower, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, and Professor Ray Ogden, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Glasgow. The research is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council, and is also supported by the Irish Centre for High-End Computing. A major research award was also recently claimed by Fiona Freeman, a biomedical engineering PhD student under the supervision of Dr Laoise McNamara, also from the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway. Fiona was awarded first prize in the Mature Researcher category for her presentation at the 21st Annual Conference of the Bioengineering Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. The work presented at the conference was conducted by Fiona in Professor Robert Guldberg’s Laboratory in Georgia Tech, Atlanta. After being awarded the National University of Ireland Travelling Scholar Award, Fiona travelled to the US for six months to conduct her studies in collaboration with Guldberg’s lab. Her study explored the fate of constructs produced using an endochondral ossification process. Both David, a native of Kilkenny, and Fiona, a native of Galway, completed their undergraduate degrees in biomedical engineering at NUI Galway prior to undertaking PhD research. Speaking of their success, Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway said: “David’s and Fiona’s awards further establish NUI Galway as a leading centre for biomedical engineering research, both nationally and internationally. This research is also very important for the ongoing development of the medical device industry.” -ends-

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

First Irish University to Offer Free Cancer Screening for Staff NUI Galway has today launched a FREE Mammogram service under the banner of ‘Pink Power’ for female employees, and a FREE prostate screening programme for male employees under the banner of Blue Power. This initiative is the first of its kind in any university in Ireland, is sponsored by Cornmarket, and delivered with the Bon Secours Hospital Galway. According to Professor Michael Kerin, Head of Surgery at NUI Galway and Research Director of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) early diagnosis is vital: “Approximately 2800 women per year get breast cancer in the Republic of Ireland and it is the leading cause of cancer death amongst middle aged women in Ireland. This campaign will increase awareness and provide a screening mammogram for women in the 40-50 year age group in NUI Galway.” Mr Kilian Walsh Consultant Urological Surgeon went on to say “For men, 1 in 9 will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer during their lifetime. The chance of developing Prostate Cancer increases with age and early diagnosis allows an informed discussion about all available treatment options. This is why the NUI Galway have organised FREE PSA tests for male employees aged 45 and over.” In the coming weeks, male employees aged 45 and over will be invited to attend clinics under the care of Bon Secours Hospital Nursing staff conveniently located in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. At the same time, female employees between the ages of 40 and 50 will be offered a FREE mammogram in the Bon Secours hospital. BreastCheck (the national screening programme) invites women aged 50 to 64 years for a free screening mammogram every two years. However, breast cancer can happen before 50. We hope that through Pink Power we can increase awareness of the importance of self-assessment and early detection. Speaking at the launch, Roddy Murphy, Managing Director of Cornmarket said: “We are very proud to sponsor this first of its kind employee initiative. Sadly Cornmarket’s claims team take phone calls regularly from members in their schemes, both young and old, who have been diagnosed with cancer. This initiative is an important step in the battle against cancer. If one life can be saved, it will have been worthwhile.” Speaking on the day, Triona Lydon, Pensions and Investment Officer at NUI Galway said: “This new initiative for NUI Galway employees is about health promotion, early detection and swift treatment, if necessary, and it is hoped that it will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of our staff.” Professor Michael Kerin and Kilian Walsh concluded: “We believe that ‘Pink Power’ and Blue Power is truly an excellent tool for early intervention in the fight against breast and prostate cancer and NUI Galway is very happy to lead out on this.” -End-

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

First award from Apple to any Higher Education programme in Europe NUI Galway’s Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas programme has been awarded the Apple Distinguished Programme for 2014/2015. The Apple Distinguished Programme (APD) recognises educational programmes for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence. The Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas (MGO) is a two year, full-time programme offered through the medium of Irish, by the School of Education at NUI Galway. The MGO is unique in that it is the only initial teacher education programme that prepares future teachers to teach in second-level Irish medium schools. The programme equips student teachers with the professional knowledge, theoretical and conceptual tools necessary for developing creative, flexible and reflective approaches to teaching. A particular emphasis is placed on teaching through the medium of Irish and on the development of strategies for teaching and learning both content and language (CLIL). Dr Mary Fleming, Head of the School of Education at NUI Galway, said: “This award is a significant and important accolade for the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas programme as it gives recognition to the innovative teamwork, collegiality and deep engagement with pre-service teacher learning for future practice within Irish medium schools and classrooms. We in the School of Education are very proud of our colleagues and wholeheartedly congratulate Dr Brendan Mac Mahon, Seán Ó Grádaigh and Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir on this fantastic achievement.” This is the first Apple Distinguished Programme award to any Higher Education programme in Europe, and only the third Education programme worldwide. This award builds on the success of the recent First International Conference in Mobile Technology in Initial Teacher Education (MiTE) 2015. This two-day Conference, hosted by the School of Education last month, brought together field leaders in the area of mobile technology in education, in both research and practice. Director of the MGO programme, Dr Brendan Mac Mahon said: “It is a great honour that the groundbreaking work of the student teachers and programme team has attracted international recognition. Incorporating mobile technology within our programme created spaces for teaching and learning that we had not envisaged and which are now having an impact on teaching, learning and assessment in secondary schools.” -Ends-

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The research project aims to advance active and healthy ageing with use of service robots A new European research project valued at €4 million, aimed at managing active and healthy ageing through the use of caring service robots has recently begun at NUI Galway. The MARIO project brings together a consortium of partners from academic institutions and industry across Europe, led by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, within the thematic section ‘Societal Challenge on Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing’, it assembles a team of international experts from academia, industry and dementia groups to work collaboratively in tackling the burdens imposed by dementia and developing innovative solutions using caring robots. The €4 million project will last for three years during which three pilot studies of robots interacting with people with dementia will be undertaken. The first pilot will run in the West of Ireland, organised by NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, the second will run in Stockport, UK, organised by the city’s health care managers, while the third will run in Italy, organised by a leading research hospital, Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, which is pushing research boundaries in comprehensive geriatric assessment. The project’s communication strategist, Professor Kathy Murphy of NUI Galway explains: “MARIO is an exciting and innovative project that will make a huge difference to the lives of people with dementia. We will be working directly with people with dementia to ensure that the issues they see as important are addressed. Multi-faceted interventions will be developed, which will be delivered by humanoid robots.” The technology at the heart of MARIO is the robot Kompai, designed and developed by a consortium partner, French company Robosoft. Other partners in the consortium will provide technological expertise in the areas of robotic applications and semantic computing. All the outcomes of the research will be made public. These are expected to be of great benefit to people with dementia as well as lead to commercial opportunities for cutting-edge technology companies. Project coordinator, Dr Dympna Casey of NUI Galway, said of these pilot studies: “All interactions with caregivers, persons with dementia, older persons and stakeholders will fully comply with standards-based medical assessment methodologies, and aspire to provide a truly user-led design ethos.” Professor Murphy added: “The project will follow an open door communications policy. The project is funded by the European Commission and its results belong to all the citizens of the European Union.” -Ends-

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The official launch of the Irish #UpForSchool campaign will take place in the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway on Friday, 27 February at 6pm. Professor Michael O’ Flaherty, Head of the Irish Centre for Human Rights will host the launch: "I am delighted to support the #UpForSchool campaign. Education offers us freedom and a better future.  Access to school is a basic human right. However, there remains 58 million children around the world who are denied the possibility to go to school. Schools in more than 70 countries were attacked in the past five years - and girls in particular have faced increasing hostility, physical violence and abuse. By signing the #UpForSchool campaign we are lending our voice to the 1.5million who have already signed the petition demanding access to school for all children regardless of location or gender. By becoming a Youth Ambassador for the #UpForSchool petition Irish students are showing solidarity with students from around the world and helping young Irish men and women to grow more socially conscious and politically aware." #UpForSchool is a global campaign started by Sarah Brown, wife of former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.  The aim of the campaign is to get 58 million primary school children who are currently not in school, into school.  It was one of the United Nations Millennium goals to get every child into primary education by 2015 and this has not been realised. There is a global education crisis and young courageous campaigners around the world are coming together in this campaign to demand action. They are reaching out too Irish students to ask them to sign the petition and to become #UpForSchool Youth Ambassadors. Senator Fidelma Healy Eames has recently been appointed WIP’s Education Champion for Ireland. WIP is an organisation representing 9000 female parliamentarians across the globe. As part of this new role Senator Eames has been asked to lead out the #UpforSchool campaign in Ireland. “I am asking that your school community, teacher, students and parents would become champions for this worthy global campaign.  I am asking each school to commit to gathering 200 signatures to add to our campaign petition. Our national goal is to collect 10,000 signatures from Ireland as part of the global #UpForSchool petition.  Each school will be presented with an #UpforSchool certificate on completion.” The final petition will be presented to global leaders at the UN summit in September. If your school would like to be part of this really important initiative please log onto upforschool.org and see all the resources you will need there, including the Irish petitionwww.aworldatschool.org/upforschool/upforschool-upforlearning-join-the-irish-campaign. You can read more on the worthy human rights campaign at www.aworldatchool.org Irish schools are being invited to become champions for the #UpForSchool campaign by getting as many people as possible to sign the petition. For further information on #UpforSchool petition visit our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/upforschoolireland. -Ends-

Thursday, 26 February 2015

NUI Galway students perform ‘A Poem for Ireland’ shortlist in Galway city centre Today students of Irish and of Drama and Theatre Studies in NUI Galway will bring poetry out of the lecture halls and onto the main shopping street in Galway city for the pleasure of unsuspecting shoppers. Students will recite a selection of verses from poems shortlisted in RTÉ’s ‘A Poem for Ireland’ campaign. Current lecturer in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at NUI Galway Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh is among those shortlisted for ‘A Poem for Ireland’. This flashmob style event, which will also include a number of musicians, aims to encourage the general public to engage with the ten shortlisted poems and to cast their vote in the national ‘A Poem for Ireland’ campaign. Event organisers Dr Rióna Ní Fhrighil (Gaeilge, NUI Galway) and Marianne Ní Chinnéide (Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway) believe that there are many ways to engage with poetry. Beyond the act of reading, poetry can be made accessible through performance. Their students will perform poetry on a busy city street to remind people that poetry is for everybody. The event takes place on Shop Street, Galway, today (Thursday, 26 February) from 4pm. -ends-

Friday, 27 February 2015

FRIDAY, 27 FEBRUARY, 2015 NUI Galway uses a detailed medical questionnaire to conduct pre-employment health screening. An indepth questionnaire replaces the need for a face-to-face medical consultation for staff. This process takes place after a candidate has been offered a position and forms no part of the job interview. This process of health screening was implemented by the University in 2008 following a decision by its Governing Authority. Prior to this all prospective staff were required to attend a pre-employment medical examination. The detail of the medical questionnaire used for pre-employment health screening is a strictly confidential process between doctor and patient.The questionnaire was provided to the University by its Occupational Health service providers and is in line with best practice nationally. Many organisations in Ireland and the UK use a similar process to determine the health of future employees.The questionnaire is completed independently and privately by prospective staff members, regardless of gender, and subsequently examined by the occupational health physician. Where a staff member responds positively to questions the doctor will contact them directly to elicit further information and arrange a consultation if necessary. No person is deemed unfit for employment on the basis of the information disclosed on the occupational pre-placement health assessment form alone.Detailed questions are asked in an effort to identify underlying physiological problems which may require further support.The University takes on board the concerns which have been raised and will review its process in order to ensure that it continues to follow best practice in the area. The University has confirmed that they have suspended the pre-screening questionnaire while under review.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Following a meeting of Údarás na hOllscoile/the Governing Authority today (February 27), NUI Galway announced the full membership of a Task Force on Gender Equality to advise the University on its policies, procedures and a range of initiatives to achieve gender equality in promotion. At an earlier meeting of the Governing Authority in December, the University agreed to establish a Task Force and last month announced that Professor Jane Grimson has been appointed as Chairperson. It has now confirmed the 15 members of the Task Force which comprises of individuals with a broad spectrum of expertise and perspectives. The members are as follows: Professor Jane Grimson Former Vice-Provost, Trinity College Dublin Liam Bluett General Manager, Ballybane Enterprise Centre Norah Gibbons Chairperson, Child and Family Agency Professor Áine Hyland Former Vice-President, University College Cork Dr John Kremer Former Reader in Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast Professor Gerry Loftus Former Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, NUI Galway Gráinne McMorrow, SC Senior Counsel and Sole Member at Douch Commission of Investigation Tadhg Ó hÉalaithe Former Secretary General of the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Dr Louise Allcock Lecturer, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway Dr Nata Duvvury Senior Lecturer, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway Caroline Loughnane Academic Secretary, NUI Galway Aoife McNena HR Operations Manager, NUI Galway Professor Donncha O’Connell Head of the School of Law, NUI Galway Professor Maura Sheehan Personal Professor, J. E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway Natalie WalshResearch Support Officer, Research Office, NUI Galway A student member will also be added to the task force in the near future. Speaking on today’s announcement, Professor Grimson said: “Firstly I am hugely honoured to act as Chair of this Task Force and delighted to be working with such a group as that announced today. As previously stated by the University President, NUI Galway has fully acknowledged the issues and are fully committed to addressing them and these appointments clearly mark a milestone for the University in tackling gender equality and I very much look forward to working with the University on this Task Force. The University has also committed through its Strategic Planning process, to develop a programme of gender equality initiatives through the international Athena Swan programme, something I am hugely supportive of, which will provide a framework to enable the University to set itself realistic but stretching targets to move towards greater gender equality. The establishment of a Task Force for gender equality is a significant step towards tackling challenges around gender equality. I am confident we will meet this challenge but it will take time. Having announced the full membership of the Task Force, we plan to hold our first meeting in March following which we will set out our full and detailed terms of reference.” The Task Force, which will report directly to the University’s Governing Authority, has a wide ranging remit aimed at helping NUI Galway to achieve gender equality. The Task Force was established in response to the recent decision of the Equality Tribunal in respect of gender discrimination towards a staff member in the 2008 Senior Lecturer promotion round.

Monday, 5 January 2015

NUI Galway today announced a new one-year pilot scheme for GCE A-Level students for entry in September 2015. This initiative is intended to increase the number of Northern Ireland students attending NUI Galway with approximately 200 places across more than 50 undergraduate programmes, with the exception of Medicine due to the HPAT (Health Professions Admission Test) requirement, will be made available to students sitting 3 or more A-Levels under the scheme. Currently the A-Level to Leaving Certificate points conversion model is based on 4 A-Levels being the equivalent to 6 Leaving Certificate exams. Approximately 80% of A-Level students only sit 3 A-Levels, which means the maximum number of points for these students is 450 points. In addition to this, a student might earn up to 65 points if they sat a fourth AS-Level, but this cohort is in the minority. For each course, A-Level students will be ranked in order of their achievement in their best 3 GCE A-Level exams and places would be offered to the applicants who rank highest, to fill agreed scheme quota places per programme. As with CAO applicants, all other minimum entry requirements will also need to be met, including: Applicants must meet all matriculation requirements for that programme Meet all other course specific requirements, e.g. minimum grade language requirements. Speaking on the new initiative, Registrar and Deputy President Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh explained: “Historically, the percentage of students from Northern Ireland and the UK studying at Universities in the Republic has been surprisingly low. There are many reasons for this and one of those is the grade equivalences between A-Levels and Leaving Certificate points. At NUI Galway we have seen a big increase in the level of interest in our courses from A-Level students. We are committed to urging the Irish Higher Education sector to review our entry routes for these students. This pilot is an important first step in opening up entry routes to broader cohorts of students at NUI Galway.” Applications for the students chosen course can be done through the CAO by 1st February 2015 and entry onto the scheme will be automatic, once eligibility has been established. For further information see on Central Admissions Office (CAO) see www.cao.ie. For more information on courses available at NUI Galway visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/alevelentryscheme or visit the University YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/thinkingaboutnuig -Ends- Cuireann OÉ Gaillimh tús le Scéim Phíolótach nua do dhaltaí A-Leibhéal Inniu, d'fhógair OÉ Gaillimh scéim phíolótach nua bliana do dhaltaí A-Leibhéal GCE d'iontráil i mí Mheán Fómhair 2015. Táthar ag súil go gcuirfidh an tionscnamh le líon na ndaltaí as Tuaisceart Éireann a fhreastalaíonn ar OÉ Gaillimh trí thart ar 200 áit a chur ar fáil ar bhreis is 50 clár fochéime do dhaltaí atá i mbun trí cinn nó níos mó A-Leibhéal. Ní bheidh feidhm ag an scéim do chúrsaí Leighis mar gheall ar an riachtanas HPAT (Tástáil Iontrála na nGairmeacha Sláinte). Faoi láthair is ionann ceithre ábhar A-Leibhéal agus sé ábhar Ardteistiméireachta nuair atá na pointí á gcur le chéile. Déanann thart ar 80% de dhaltaí A-Leibhéal trí ábhar A-Leibhéal, rud a chiallaíonn gurb é 450 pointe an t-uasmhéid pointí is féidir leo a bhaint amach. Lena chois sin, d'fhéadfadh dalta 65 pointe breise a bhaint amach dá dtabharfadh sé/sí faoin gceathrú AS-Leibhéal, ach is beag duine a dhéanann é seo. Do gach cúrsa, rangófar daltaí A-Leibhéal de réir chomh maith is a éiríonn leo sna trí scrúdú A-Leibhéal GCE is fearr atá acu agus tairgfear áiteanna do na hiarratasóirí is fearr a chruthaíonn, chun an cuóta áiteanna comhaontaithe a líonadh. Mar atá i gcás iarratasóirí CAO, beidh ar na daltaí seo na híosriachtanais iontrála ar fad a chomhlíonadh chomh maith, lena n-áirítear: Caithfidh iarratasóirí na riachtanais mháithreánacha ar fad a bhaineann leis an gclár faoi leith a chomhlíonadh Caithfidh iarratasóirí gach riachtanas sonrach a bhaineann leis an gcúrsa a chomhlíonadh, e.g. riachtanais íosghráid teanga. Ag labhairt dó faoin tionscnamh nua, dúirt an Meabhránaí agus Uachtarán Ionaid, an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh: “Go stairiúil, tá an céatadán de dhaltaí ó Thuaisceart Éireann agus ón Ríocht Aontaithe a dhéanann staidéir in Ollscoileanna sa Phoblacht thar a bheith íseal. Is iomaí cúis leis seo agus ar cheann acu sin tá na comhionannais ghráid idir A-Leibhéil agus pointí na hArdteistiméireachta. In OÉ Gaillimh tá méadú mór feicthe againn ar an spéis atá daltaí A-Leibhéal a chur inár gcúrsaí. Táimid meáite ar iarraidh ar an earnáil ardoideachais in Éirinn athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar na bealaí iontrála do na daltaí seo. Is céim thábhachtach í an scéim phíolótach seo maidir leis na bealaí iontrála in OÉ Gaillimh a oscailt amach do réimse níos leithne daltaí. Is féidir le daltaí iarratas a dhéanamh ar a rogha cúrsa tríd an CAO faoin 1 Feabhra 2015 agus cuirfear isteach ar an scéim iad go huathoibríoch, chomh luath is a bheidh incháilitheacht dearbhaithe. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil féach ar láithreán gréasáin na Lár-Oifige Iontrála (CAO) ar www.cao.ie. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi chláir atá ar fáil in OÉ Gaillimh téigh chuig http://www.nuigalway.ie/alevelentryscheme nó chuig cainéal YouTube na hOllscoile www.youtube.com/user/thinkingaboutnuig - Críoch -

Monday, 5 January 2015

Dr Eilionóir Flynn of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and Martin O Donnell, Professor of Translational Medicine at NUI Galway have both been approved by the European Research Council (ERC) for starter grants. Professor O’Donnell’s award will support his so-called "blue sky research" project entitled 'Clarifying Optimal Sodium Intake Project' (COSIP) which seeks to clarify how much sodium (salt) intake is optimal for health. Professor O'Donnell explains that the leading cause of death globally is cardiovascular disease, and elevated blood pressure is a major modifiable cause. High sodium (salt) intake causes an increase in blood pressure, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Based on studies looking at reducing sodium intake and blood pressure, it is recommended that sodium intake is reduced to low levels (<2.0g/day) in the entire population, which is about half of current intake. However, says O'Donnell "sodium is an essential nutrient, and some recent research by our group, and others, has raised questions about whether low sodium intake is optimal for health in all people. My research will focus on understanding the relationship between different levels of sodium intake and physiological markers of cardiovascular health. We will explore whether our genetics play an important role in modifying the effects of different levels of sodium intake on blood pressure and risk of stroke and heart disease. Does one size fit all, or do people have different sodium intake requirements? In addition to sodium intake, we also look at potassium intake and effect of overall dietary patterns on cardiovascular health."        O'Donnell said that this ERC funding will have a considerable impact on his research, as it will support an ambitious research programme over the next five years. Dr Flynn is the youngest of the ERC Starter grantees this year and amongst nine in Ireland to win a total of €11m in funding under these prestigious awards. Her award of almost €1m in funding for the ground-breaking VOICES project will run for three and a half years. The VOICES project aims to make visible the experiences of people with disabilities who have been denied legal capacity. It will involve a series of workshops where people with this lived experience will be paired with social and legal scholars to develop their narratives, and construct critical responses to these narratives, for inclusion in an edited collection at the end of the project. Particular themes to be addressed include criminal responsibility, consent, and contract law.  Dr Flynn said "The VOICES project will take a radical approach to develop new law reform ideas based on the concept of “universal legal capacity”, a basic human freedom to make one’s own decisions and have them respected by law. People with disabilities will be supported in this project by legal and social science scholars to develop personal narratives about their experiences in exercising, or being denied, legal capacity. This is important because many people with disabilities, especially people with intellectual, psycho-social and other cognitive disabilities, have been denied this fundamental right – informally, in the private sphere, and formally, in the public sphere through states’ laws and policies." Dr Flynn is Senior Lecturer at the School of Law, NUI Galway and Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy. The Centre focuses on advancing social justice and human rights for persons with disabilities through legislative and policy reform. With major research accolades and some of the most respected members in the field on the staff board, the CDLP has earned its place as a policy leader, both in Europe and beyond. See www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp for more information. ENDS 

Monday, 5 January 2015

In advance of the CAO application deadline, NUI Galway will run an application advice clinic for students and parents who are interested in applying for access to college through the HEAR and DARE schemes. The clinic will be held on Saturday 10 January from 10am to 2pm in the Bailey Allen Hall. The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a college and university admission scheme which offers places on reduced points to school leavers with disabilities under 23 years old. The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a college and university admission scheme which also offers places on reduced points to school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged background who are under 23 years of age. Both schemes are part of a range of initiatives to encourage a greater number of applications to third level from groups of students who find it difficult to progress to college due to personal, cultural or financial challenges. The advice clinic is open to Leaving Certificate students, their parents or guardians, teachers and guidance counsellors. Those considering making an application to either scheme can drop in for one-to-one guidance and support on applying to the HEAR and DARE Schemes. Advisers will offer guidance on how to make a completed application to either or both schemes. The aim of the advice clinics is to reduce the number of incomplete applications received by directly explaining to applicants and their families the supporting documentation required and answering any queries they may have. According to Sinéad Quinn, Irish Universities’ Association, HEAR/DARE Development Officer, and formerly of NUI Galway: “The clinic provides extremely useful information on applying for the HEAR and DARE programmes. If anyone has any queries about any aspect of these courses, I would really encourage them to attend.” Further information on is also available on www.nuigalway.ie/access/hear.html -Ends-

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

NUI Galway is hosting a Mature Students Open Evening on Thursday, 15 January at 6pm in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle. The open evening is an opportunity to find out more about courses on offer, entry requirements, CAO application procedure, mature scholarships and practical student supports within the University.   The information evening is designed for people aged 23 and over who are considering embarking on full-time or part time undergraduate degree programmes in NUI Galway in the 2015/2016 academic year. In attendance this year will be Graham Doyle, Communications and Customer Service Manager from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI), who will be on hand to advise on application for grants and financial supports. NUI Galway has currently 850 mature students studying across all degree programmes and plays a large part in the student undergraduate population. Trish Bourke, Mature Students Officer at NUI Galway, said: “Mature Students are attracted to this university because of its excellent reputation for teaching and learning and for the wide range of programmes on offer including Medicine, Psychology, Journalism and Speech and Language Therapy. The Open Evening is the opportune time to find out about SUSI Grants and receive the new Mature Students Guide, the University Prospectus and find out all you need to know before applying through the CAO.” Embarking on third-level education can be quite a challenge for many mature students. Some may have been out of formal education for some time but it is important to highlight that there are routes to university through NUI Galway’s Access courses.  Many mature students perform very well academically each year with 30 mature scholarships awarded for excellence in September 2014. To register attendance for the Information Evening visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/mature/matureopenevening.html or email Trish Bourke at maturestudents@nuigalway.ie.  A Mature Students Guidebook is also available with further information at www.nuigalway.ie/mature. -Ends-

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Cavan on Thursday, 15 January. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Crystal Hotel, Dublin Road, Cavan. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, BA in Journalism, BA in Science (Physics- degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical or Theoretical) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Gaeilge). Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Cavan, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Cavan is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Cavan, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Gráinne Dunne on 087 244 0858 or grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A new war is being waged by scientists at Aquila Bioscience on disease-causing bacteria, viruses and biotoxins. The NUI Galway spin-out has signed a deal with the European Defence Agency to develop decontamination products that are portable, non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Aquila’s expertise lies in understanding cell biology and the role of complex sugars – or glycans – which pathogens use to interact with and invade host cells. The company will deliver a novel strategy to decontaminate physical and biological surfaces by capturing pathogens using sugar-protein coated materials. The method will be used to combat a range of pathogens, and will be safe for military, defence equipment and personnel. Pathogenic bacteria, viruses and many biotoxins display specialised sugars (glycans) and sugar-binding proteins (lectins) on their surface. This allows them to interact and invade host cells through a complex process of carbohydrate-protein mediated attachment and invasion. Aquila is utilising its expertise in glycobiology to develop novel strategies to inhibit pathogen binding to host surfaces by neutralising the sugars displayed on the pathogens. NUI Galway’s Professor Lokesh Joshi is Science Foundation Ireland Stokes Professor of Glycosciences and a co-founder of Aquila: “This is an innovative approach to decontamination. Complex sugars coat each and every cell in a living organism and mediate interactions between cells. Glycans can connect to others on similar cells, a bit like Velcro®. Pathogens are very clever at figuring out glycan patterns, and use this to attach to and invade their hosts. We want to turn the tables, by using glycans to neutralise pathogens’ approach.” The technology was partly developed using a Science Foundation Ireland funded TIDA Award, and the project with the European Defence Agency is expected to last two years. Aquila has attracted further international attention from both private companies and academic institutions to help develop technologies to detect, capture and neutralise viruses and bacteria. Professor Joshi also has ambitions to take this approach to the fight against Ebola. “Aquila and the glycoscience group in NUI Galway are looking at different strategies to prevent Ebola binding and to decontaminate surfaces infected with Ebola. These strategies can also be used for other virus and bacterial pathogens that may cause serious threat to the society.” Overall, the science Aquila is developing is an extension of work initiated by the Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) at NUI Galway. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland five years ago, the AGRC was set up to focus on glycoscience, which was then a relatively new but important and rapidly emerging area of research. The ARGC was focused on the discovery of novel diagnostics, therapeutics and nutraceuticals. The knowledge generated and technologies developed are now also highly applicable to other infectious diseases, as well as cancer, immune system, inflammation, neuroscience and biomaterials research. Aquila has made significant leaps in less than two years, securing a number of high profile projects; including an EU-FP7 Project aimed at developing novel, high throughput strategies to detect and identify pathogen contamination in water using carbohydrate-based approaches. More information on the work been carried out for this project can be found at (http://www.napes.eu/). -ends-

Friday, 9 January 2015

Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway releases results of first national survey on social journalism Irish journalists still rely on traditional methods to verify stories, according to the first nationwide survey of news reporting in the digital age. “This survey reveals that the vast majority of journalists in Ireland use social media for sourcing news leads, content, and verifying information, but the majority still believe that, without external verification, the information cannot be trusted," said Insight researcher Dr Bahareh Heravie. "Very few journalists use specialist tools to validate information, instead relying on the practice of contacting individuals directly. While this practice upholds traditional journalistic procedures for verifying information, in the age of social media, it is an increasingly time consuming process.” Overall, the survey found that 99 per cent of Irish journalists use social media, with half of those using it daily. While most journalists believe that using social media makes them more engaged with their audience and with other journalists, over half state that they believe social media is undermining traditional journalistic values. Social media is most popular with journalists for sourcing leads and content. Few surveyed believe that content found on social media can be trusted. The majority rely on contact with ‘real world’ sources for verification. The comprehensive report: Social Journalism Survey: First National Survey  on Irish Journalists’ Use of Social Media (2014) was compiled from data from hundreds of professional journalists working in Ireland by the Digital Humanities and Journalism group of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The survey was open to all professional journalists working in Ireland, and was distributed widely to attract the broadest possible set of responses. The survey collected information from journalists working in all areas of reporting, from Irish news to world news, and from arts through business, lifestyle, sports, and technology. Respondents for the most part identified as skilled users of social media, and worked for a wide range of media, from print to broadcast to online-only publications. In a world where the first person to see and write about a breaking news event is a random individual with a smart phone, instead of a seasoned reporter in the field, what role does social media play in contemporary journalism? This and many more questions are being addressed for the first time in the Irish context by the survey launched today. ENDS