Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Central Bank of Ireland today (12 December 2012) issued its latest collector coin, a €15 silver proof coin featuring the design of a wolfhound, at NUI Galway. The coin is the final in a series of three which pays tribute to the original 1928 coins designed by Percy Metcalfe and which featured iconic Irish animals including the Irish hunter horse and the salmon. The €15 coin features the design of a wolfhound alongside its pup and is the work of coin designer Emmet Mullins. Speaking at the launch, Governor Patrick Honohan said: ‘We are delighted to be in Galway today to mark the issue of the final €15 coin honouring Percy Metcalfe’s 1928 designs. Today’s coin launch coincides with a number of Central Bank events taking place in Galway including the first meeting of the Board of the Central Bank – the Central Bank Commission - outside of Dublin and a consumer protection road-show for retail intermediaries. I would like to thank Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway for hosting today’s events and for the warm welcome we have received. The collector coin has an issue limit of 8,000 units and is available to the public at a cost of €46 per coin. Each coin is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity specifying the quality of the coin and the limited issue. The coin can be purchased by downloading an order form from the Collector Coin section of our website or by calling 1890 307 607 (lo-call within Ireland) or (+353 1) 219 8000.  It may also be purchased directly from the Central Bank’s premises in Dame Street, Dublin.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Researchers at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway are leading a European Union, multi-million euro initiative aimed at government transparency and giving citizens a voice in creating policies. The project, entitled ‘Puzzled by Policy’ has now launched a new widget (http://join.puzzledbypolicy.eu) that provides a fun way for users to find out about immigration policy and become actively involved in the immigration policy-making process. Immigration is traditionally a highly contentious topic, but one that is relevant to all, including immigrants and citizens, employers and employees, NGOs and public-sector bodies. Immigration policy can impact on all aspects of life, from social welfare and housing, to education, employment and healthcare. This unique widget encourages users to explore their opinions on various immigration topics, as well as enabling them to see how their views compare to those of policy-makers, NGOs, and other immigration stakeholders. While the ‘Puzzled by Policy’ widget is customised for Greece, Hungary, Italy and Spain, users from other countries may also participate at a European level. To facilitate wide and diverse participation, this innovative widget has been designed so that it can be embedded on any website, blog or Facebook page. This enables existing communities to become more informed on immigration policy, while becoming actively engaged on particular issues. NGOs, immigrant organizations, academic institutions and think-tanks are already successfully using the widget to engage their communities. DERI’s Deirdre Lee, who is leading the ‘Puzzled by Policy’ project, comments: “The Puzzled by Policy project aims to help end the detachment and disillusionment of citizens in the policy making process of the EU by improving information resources and tools. DERI is providing the models, technologies and tools for more effective and efficient public administration systems. This is all part of a larger move toward eGovernment, which embraces the world wide web for better governance.” Deirdre Lee added: “eGovernment offers the ability to transform not only the way in which most public services are delivered but also the fundamental relationship between government and citizen.” With over 140 researchers, DERI is one of the world’s leading international web science research institutes, established as a CSET in 2003 with funding from Science Foundation Ireland. DERI’s researchers have a specific focus on the Semantic Web and Networked Knowledge, which provides the framework to link information in a way that allows us to use, analyse and retrieve this information more efficiently. -ends-

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Galway Neuroscience Cluster, based within the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway, last week gained the status of Centre of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (COEN) after a national and international review process. By gaining COEN status, the Galway Neuroscience Cluster joins a select group of international centres that are entitled to apply for research funding that is awarded through this international initiative.    Leader of the Neuroscience Cluster, NUI Galway’s Dr David Finn, said: “This is a very significant achievement by the Neuroscience Cluster and it represents international recognition and approval of the quantity and quality of our research over the past 5-10 years.  I would like to acknowledge the efforts and support of all members of the Neuroscience Cluster and University which have contributed significantly to this exciting development.”  The overall aim of the COEN initiative is to build collaborative research activity in neurodegeneration research across borders, focusing on critical mass and excellence.  Congratulating those involved NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said:  "NUI Galway’s designation as a Centre of Excellence in Neurodegeneration is a wonderful endorsement of the calibre of research underway at this University.  It underscores the growing international reputation of our University and its researchers.  This designation will enable the Galway Neuroscience Cluster to further develop and to join an elite group of international centres working on advancing new therapies for a range of medical conditions." The news came on the eve of the annual research meeting of the Galway Neuroscience Cluster last Thursday at NUI Galway. This meeting showcased the best of neuroscience research in the University. Attendees included undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as post-doctoral research scientists and academic members of staff from a number of different disciplines and research centers within university. The research presented encompassed a number of different areas within neuroscience. The presentations included the genetic approaches taken to improve the symptoms of Huntington’s disease, the potential use of marine products in neuroscience, the use of new delivery methods for therapies in Parkinson’s disease, the development of relevant models to study chronic pain as well as a keynote lecture given by Professor Ciaran Regan of UCD on the development of potential therapies for autism spectrum disorders. Awards for the best postgraduate oral and poster presentations at the meeting were also presented by Dr John Newell of the Clinical Research Facility in Galway who sponsored the meeting. The poster prize was won by Jason Ridge (Anatomy and Psychiatry, NUI Galway) whose work detailed the changes in size of certain brain regions in patients with schizophrenia. Ben Newland (Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, NUI Galway) won the oral presentation prize for presenting his work on the development of a new strategy to delivery genes for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Nikita Burke (Physiology and Centre for Pain Research) won the runner-up prize for her work on the effects of early life stress on the perception of pain. The mission of the Neuroscience Cluster is to develop Neuroscience in Galway through research, education and community initiatives. The Cluster 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. Cluster Leader Dr David Finn added: “I would like to congratulate the prizewinners and all those who presented and contributed to a fascinating meeting and I look forward to the continued growth and success of neuroscience at NUI Galway in 2013 and beyond.” ENDS

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A well-known local science advocate believes that Galway should emulate its international status as an arts city by striving to become the European equivalent of California’s Silicon Valley. Brendan Smith, Community Education and Outreach Officer for the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway, was presented with the Science Person of the Year Award at the recent Galway Science and Technology Festival. He was given the award for delivering a range of pioneering science and technology learning initiatives to schools, colleges and to communities. Brendan Smith believes passionately that the city possesses many of the key ingredients needed to transform the region into a leading global hub for smart technologies’ innovation and development. According to Brendan Smith: “Silicon Valley is home to many of the world’s largest information technology corporations as well as thousands of small start-ups. These organisations have established a symbiotic relationship with third-level colleges in the vicinity that provide the stream of young enthusiastic inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists needed to sustain their existence and success. Brendan says Galway bears an uncanny resemblance to San Francisco possessing many of its main traits in abundance. Located on the west coast of the United States, the area is famed for its natural beauty that has engendered a quality of life ethos amongst the inhabitants. The city of San Francisco has also long being characterized by political, environmental and social liberalism; possessing a strong progressive artistic, music, cultural and community solidarity ethos with a youthful, student, cosmopolitan and outward-looking population. Many of the leading corporations in the biomedical and information technology sectors such as Avaya, Boston Scientific, Cisco, Electronic Arts, Hewlett-Packard, Medtronic and SAP, are already based in Galway with established links to research institutes located in GMIT and NUI Galway such as DERI, Ryan Institute and REMEDI which are providing the scientific expertise to sustain their presence in Galway and underpin their status as leaders in cutting edge product development. There is also the presence locally of indigenous high-tech manufacturing and services industries comprising Irish-owned companies such as Creganna and Storm Technologies. Galway can rightly claim to be the country’s first and premier ‘Digital City’, building on an unbroken tradition of computing innovation that dates back to 1971 when Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), then the world’s largest minicomputer company, opened its first European manufacturing facility in Mervue. This proud technology heritage is exemplified by the fact that the ‘Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland’, which pays tribute amongst other things to the oftentimes hidden role of Ireland, women and youth in communications development, is based in the city at DERI in NUI Galway. “What is also an abiding feature of Galway is the deep sense of ‘community solidarity’ as well as the high level of volunteerism that exists amongst many of the prime ‘movers and shakers’ in the industrial, political, educational and local government sectors. These individuals have over the years collaborated under the auspices of the Galway Education Centre, Junior Achievement and the Galway Science and Technology Festival, to deliver important learning initiatives in schools and colleges across the Western region.” “In a modern industrial urban version of ‘Meitheal’ that was once the hallmark of traditional Irish rural community support, these visionaries have promoted and harnessed an army of young professional mentors from industry and third level colleges who give their time and energies to teach in primary and post-primary classrooms delivering science courses whilst acting as positive ‘role models’ for our young generation.” Such courses will equip our children with a range of skills, from using mathematics to fostering critical thinking, necessary for transforming Ireland from being a nation of ‘digital users’ into a nation of ‘digital creators’ that would export worldwide a series of beneficial Irish-made smart tech products and services. These formal learning programmes are now being complimented by the activities of electronic and computer coding volunteer clubs such as 091 Labs and Coderdojo which are often established by young people themselves to provide informal after-school digital maker’s environments where participants are encouraged to be creative and to experiment in new processes and ideas, writing software for instance for online games or to control the movements of robots. The success of these initiatives is best shown by the dramatic uptake by schools in these mentoring courses as well as by the tens of thousands that attend the science shows and exhibitions during the annual two week Galway Science and Technology Festival. -ends-

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

NUI Galway has announced that the 2013 Alumni Awards will be presented at the annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 9 March, 2013. The Gala Banquet will again be held 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 70,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of 74 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. Speaking on the announcement of the Awards, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: "Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their professions and excel in their pursuits at national and international levels. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University's more than 70,000 graduates worldwide and we look forward to announcing the award winners early in the New Year.” 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

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Robin Tipps, a Sociology-Criminology student from the University of Oklahoma, has been awarded a George J. Mitchell Scholarship to study Public Law at NUI Galway next September. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship, awarded by the US-Ireland Alliance, funds one year of graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland to students who satisfy requirements for an Irish master's degree. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship honours the former U.S. senator's contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process and was established in 1999. This year 12 scholars representing a cross-section of American students have been awarded the scholarship on the basis of academic distinction, leadership and service. Among their achievements, they count breaking the cryptic code of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams, tutoring underserved children and improving the performance of biofuels. Robin, a member of the Quapaw Tribe, was raised in Ardmore, Oklahoma and will graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in sociology-criminology in 2013. He has been the Senior Vice-Chair of Investigations for his University’s Integrity Council and hopes to become a tribal attorney and the chairman of his tribe. His many service activities include work at the same-day surgery clinic at Norman Regional Hospital and as Collections Assistant at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. The son of a Quapaw mother and a Caucasian father, Robin has thought a great deal about Native American identity. He grew up 300 miles from tribal headquarters, and the annual ritual of Pow Wow took on great meaning for him, as it was the time when he could connect most easily with his Native American heritage. Marie McGonagle, Director of the LLM in Public law at NUI Galway, express her delight that Robin had chosen the Public Law programme, the second winner of a prestigious Mitchell scholarship to do so in three years. “Robin will be a very welcome addition to the class and I hope he will find the many opportunities presented to students on the programme to attend conferences and engage with public bodies beneficial to his future career.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dr Patrick O’Brien, Group Director of Strategic Business and Marketing for Wood Group Kenny and a member of the Executive Management Team of MCS Kenny, has been appointed as Adjunct Professor in the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway. Dr O'Brien, a chartered engineer with close to 30 years industry experience, was awarded a Bachelor of Engineering degree, Master of Engineering Science and PhD by NUI Galway. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and a Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology. Dr O'Brien plays an active role in a number of industry bodies and he is a board member of Subsea UK. Throughout his career, Dr O’Brien has gained extensive experience primarily in the design of compliant pipeline systems that connect from the seafloor to an offshore oil and gas floating platform. One of his major achievements is the development of the engineering algorithms for the world leading Flexcom riser analysis software. He is the author of many technical papers and he has chaired numerous industry conferences on riser technology. His specialties include: flexible pipe technology, riser mechanics, riser design, nonlinear structural analysis, subsea industry knowledge, strategic and creative thinking, and business networking. NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics has had ongoing research links with MCS Kenny since it was first founded as a campus spin-off in the 1980s. Currently Dr O’Brien is working with NUI Galway’s Dr Annette Harte and Adrian Connaire, PhD researcher, on a project which aims to greatly increase the efficiency of the current approaches to modeling the mechanical response of highly compliant marine risers. This new appointment will mark the beginning of a new phase in the relationship between the University, MCS Kenny and the Wood Group Kenny in the field of research and development in the offshore arena. Commenting on his appointment, Dr O'Brien said: “There has been a long tradition of collaboration between the University and MCS Kenny, and this appointment greatly strengthens that link. The company is currently working on two joint research projects with the engineering school, and we will look to build on that going forward. I am honoured to accept this position, particularly as NUI Galway is my alma mater, and I look forward to contributing ongoing lectures which bring my company's extensive experience of the offshore oil and gas industry to the engineering school's students, a timely input given recent announcements of the oil and gas potential offshore Ireland.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Sean Sherlock, Minister of State for Research and Innovation today (Wednesday) announced NUI Galway has secured funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) for a new ash cloud research project.  ESA has invested €2.1 million in an ash cloud detection and forecasting system led by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) and involving NUI Galway and the Irish Aviation Authority Irish Aviation Authority’s Volcanic Ash Detection and Forecasting Initiative. The funding was secured with the aid of Enterprise Ireland, which is the co-ordinating body for ESA in Ireland. The project, which uses satellites and forecast models to detect ash clouds and forecast their movements, came about following the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption, which resulted in more than 100,000 flights being cancelled, affecting 10 million passenger journeys during the first week of the eruption alone.  Announcing the investment, Minister Sherlock said; “The Action Plan for Jobs 2012 puts innovation and technology at the heart of enterprise and jobs policies and working with the European Space Agency is an integral part of driving innovation and research in Ireland.” “NUI Galway’s commitment to developing new environmental monitoring techniques is impressive. This is a significant win for NUI Galway and clearly indicates that Irish Research Institutes have the capability and expertise to significantly contribute to these pan European projects.” The Minister added 'Ireland's membership of the European Space Agency is having a direct and positive impact for the research and SME community. There are over 40 Irish companies that are active in ESA programmes. These companies, through their involvement with ESA Earth observation programmes, are also directly impacting on global threats such as climate change, ozone depletion, maritime surveillance, flooding and forest fires'. In addition to ash detection via satellite platforms, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), in collaboration with NUI Galway, is deploying an ash cloud detection network composed of four ground-based LIDARS (dust or haze RADARs) located strategically at north, south, east and west perimeters in Ireland. ESA have invested in NUI Galway’s School of Physics and Centre for Climate & Air Pollution studies to use the LIDAR data for ash detection. In total, ESA have invested €2.1 million in the Volcanic Ash Strategic-initiative Team (VAST). VAST is a consortium led by NILU and comprises teams from Finland, Austria and Ireland with NUI Galway being awarded €500,000 to further develop and evaluate their ash forecast model, to develop real-time ash detection software and techniques for the LIDAR network, and to conduct the validation of the detection and forecasting aspects of the project.  Professor Colin O’Dowd, the Director of the Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies, based in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The VAST detection and forecasting system is especially designed to facilitate the aviation industry and represents a major technological step forward in combing space-borne and ground-based remote-sensing platforms with sophisticated ash forecasting models and will put Europe in poll position in terms of ash cloud detection and forecasting.” He went on to say “ESA’s investment in NUI Galway’s research and research support staff for the IAA’s LIDAR network is a reflection of how important ESA views the Irish contribution to ash cloud detection and prediction. The initiative will provide more accurate information to the aviation industry which is expected to result in reduced disruption of air travel as ‘fly’ or ‘no-fly’ decisions will be based on more accurate predictions of ash plume location and density.” Dr Barry Fennell of Enterprise Ireland and National Delegate to ESA’s Earth Observation Programme Board said “Ireland’s unique geographical position on the western fringes of Europe makes it an ideal and much sought after international partner when developing early detection environmental warning systems whether focused on the atmosphere, on land or on the marine environment.  Many more business opportunities for Irish Industry will become available over the coming years through increased availability and access to data collected in-situ and from Earth Observation satellites.”  “Ireland’s recent renewal of its membership to the ESA Earth Observation programme with a subscription of €5 million will secure the position of our SME’s, Academic and Public Sector institutes at the heart of the latest technological developments in this rapid advancing area of service development.” ENDS

Thursday, 20 December 2012

NUI Galway has officially launched a new Masters Programme in Rural Sustainability. The full-time, one year postgraduate programme is being co-ordinated by the Discipline of Geography within the School of Geography and Archaeology, and it already has a full complement of students in place for the first year of its operation. The MA in Rural Sustainability has been devised in response to increasing attention nationally and internationally on the role and function of rural economies and societies. NUI Galway holds a distinguished tradition of rural research and teaching. As a European university that is itself situated in a rural and peripheral location, it seeks to continue its leadership role in rural affairs through providing a postgraduate career path in rural studies. The programme was officially launched by Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc. This association with Teagasc, particularly with its own strong leadership in rural research, is an important component of the programme as it unites expertise in rural theory, research and practice, ultimately benefiting the student experience and future employability.     Speaking at the launch, Professor Boyle said: “I congratulate NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography on this timely and appropriate Postgraduate programme. The programme is a clear response in a positive and proactive way by Geographers in NUI Galway to calls emanating regionally, nationally and internationally, which place rural issues high on current political agendas.  This MA also allows for greater collaboration between NUI Galway and Teagasc and I am also delighted to announce, as part of this MA programme, the Teagasc sponsorship of the Dr Patrick Commins Rural Research Award.” The event also included the launch of the Dr Patrick Commins Rural Research Award for the best overall MA student performance. Sponsored by Teagasc, this award is valued at €3,000 per annum. The late Dr Commins was a leading academic and researcher in rural issues and had a long and distinguished career with Teagasc. His reputation as an expert on rural affairs extended well beyond Ireland, and his knowledge and experience was regarded as key to informing EU and wider international academic and policy debates. -ENDS-

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Professor Donal O’Regan of NUI Galway, who was honoured last year by being elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, has just written his 1,000th peer-reviewed mathematical article. He is now one of the most prolific authors in the history of Mathematics in the world. “The quality of his research is as impressive as the quantity”, says his colleague at NUI Galway, Professor Graham Ellis. “His publications appear in some of the world’s top ranking mathematics journals.” Professor O’Regan has been publishing an average of one mathematics paper per week and one mathematics book a year since he joined NUI Galway in 1990. “I’m not surprised Donal has managed to reach the millennium”, says Dr Ray Ryan, Head of the School of Mathematics. "He might very well beat the record of Paul Erdös (1913-96) who wrote around 1,525 articles over a 60-year career. O’Regan is still a relative freshman with his 22 years of publishing.” “Donal is truly amazing”, says colleague and fellow mathematician Professor Michel Destrade. “His sheer output is unbelievable by any standard. He has also written twenty books. And he does it all on a 25 year old computer!” Over the 2002-2006 period, O’Regan authored an average of 56 articles per year according to MathSciNet, the most extensive database of mathematical works worldwide. To put this number in perspective, during that same period the whole Island of Ireland produced an average of 142 mathematical articles per year, according to the Forfás bibliometric report (Research Strengths in Ireland), putting his contribution at nearly 40% of the entire Irish output. “We are very privileged to have such a world-class academic on campus”, says Dr Ryan. “He is a one-man powerhouse.” -ends-

Friday, 2 November 2012

A start-up medical device company that has been spun out from an NUI Galway research laboratory has begun an expansion that should see it double in size by the end of the year. Vornia Limited was established by Professor Abhay Pandit and Drs Dimitrios Zeugolis and Wenxin Wang as a spin out from the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) – an NUI Galway based research cluster. Vornia’s goal is to bring superior and consistently high-quality biodegradable biomaterial products to the market. As a medical device company, Vornia also uses its own superior grade materials to develop and scale up products in niche clinical targets including tendon regeneration, soft tissue repair and spinal cord repair.    Vornia’s Managing Director, Dr Colm O’Dowd, has initiated a robust R&D programme and has been ramping for the past eight months. “In a market in which between 70 and 80% of start-up companies fail, Vornia has secured funding for the next four years and we are looking forward to a bright future in biomaterials development for the medical technology markets.” Established with private, EU FP7, and Enterprise Ireland funding, Vornia Ltd has recently secured grants in partnership with both private companies and the NFB-based at NUI Galway to work on semi-organic devices for the treatment ischemic heart conditions, spinal cord repair and for stent development amongst others. It is involved, for example, in a €1.2 million EU project which aims to reduce the re-narrowing of arteries and the need for further interventions, through the development of novel cardiovascular stent materials. Dr Colm O’Dowd added: “We have just come through an intense ramping-up phase, with six researchers from as far afield as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and as close to home as GMIT. By the end of the year, we hope to have recruited a further six scientists and biomedical engineers. We need people to work on process design and development of a diverse range of medical device products using biomaterials developed by NFB.” The Vornia R&D laboratory has expanded to occupy a space in the BioInnovation Centre on the NUI Galway campus where it benefits from business support and training from the team there and is also supported by the Innovation in Business Centre based at GMIT supported by funding from Enterprise Ireland. Vornia Ltd operates under an international standard for medical device manufacturers (ISO 13485) and will soon be recognised by the certification body for their quality management systems. They are also seeking recognition as a high potential start-up (HPSU) status from Enterprise Ireland which provides funding and support for start-up businesses with the potential to develop an innovative product or service for sale in international markets and the potential to create 10 jobs and €1 million in sales within 3-4 years of starting up. -ends-

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

NUI Galway is to be part of Ireland’s first Geography Awareness Week, which takes place from 11-17 November. The week-long celebration of geography is a part global event organised to inform students and the wider public about the opportunities and diversity of topics available when studying geography. Throughout Geography Awareness Week, some 600 first-year undergraduate Bachelor of Arts students at NUI Galway will take to the streets, waterways and beaches of Galway participating in fieldtrips led by academics from the University’s School of Geography and Archaeology. Students from post-primary schools around Galway will visit the University during the week for tours of the laboratories and hear about the research taking place on campus. On Wednesday, 14 November, a Table Quiz will be held in Kelly’s Bar in Galway City at 7.30pm with all proceeds from the event going to COPE. Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway and President of the Geographical Society of Ireland, said: “It is a common misconception to narrowly associate geography simply with knowledge about capital cities of the world and facts regarding counties, wine regions and lakes. Geography is about so much more. It helps us understand how the world works with geographers exploring different systems such as human, physical, biological systems, through space and time. Geography is something employers across all sectors value, because of the wide-ranging research, analytical, practical and computer skills that geography students offer, as well as their extensive knowledge about human and physical processes. Geography Awareness Week is organised by Geographical Society of Ireland (GSI), in conjunction with the Association of Geography Teachers in Ireland (AGTI). 50 years of Geography at NUI Galway 2012 also marks the 50th anniversary of Geography at NUI Galway. Since 1962 Geography at NUI Galway has built a strong reputation for research and teaching excellence. Marking this milestone, the School of Geography and Archaeology will hold a number of events throughout the academic year 2012-13. These events will celebrate the work and scholarship of Geography’s students and staff and provide an opportunity for the public to engage with some of the key debates and research in the discipline. The first such event is a symposium during Geography Awareness Week, showcasing the research of the School of Geography and Archaeology’s Planning and Sustainability Cluster. This cluster unites research interests that relate to the analysis of social and environmental problems arising within the context of an increasingly globalised world. The symposium will include overviews of current research which spans topical issues including planning for sustainable food futures, imagining new urban design, marine spatial policy and planning and exploring the potential of the arts and creativity sector to rural and Gaeltacht communities. A panel of geographers and planners from around Ireland will also discuss potential impacts of recent amendments to the local and regional planning regulations in Ireland. The symposium takes place on Friday, 16 November in the Moore Institute Seminar Room, NUI Galway. For further information on NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography’s upcoming events visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/geography/news.html. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Ireland-India research relations have been further strengthened by the signing of agreements between the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway and four Indian institutions. Memorandums of Collaboration (MOC) have been agreed between NFB and the institutes, all four of which are instrumental in supporting the medical device and biotechnology sectors in India.  NFB, which was established with funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under the Strategic Research Cluster Programme, conducts research on biomaterials, developing technologies for use in clinical applications in the fields of orthopaedics, soft-tissue healing and neural and cardiovascular regeneration. It will now collaborate with colleagues in: The Materials Research Centre at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur; the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi; and the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology, Trivandrum.  The four institutes are part of the ‘Institutes of National Importance’ (INI), a status conferred by an act of Indian parliament to higher education institutes which ‘serve as pivotal players in developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region of the country/state’. INI’s receive special funding and recognition and the Indian government has awarded this status to just 39 institutions. The MOC recognises the benefits of increased cooperation and communication within the international community of public health research and will establish a relationship which will encourage such cooperation. Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of NFB at NUI Galway said that: “The agreement with key institutes in India will facilitate the establishment of student and faculty exchanges, research collaboration and the co-development of biomaterials and tissue engineering related projects. A strong emphasis will be placed on translational activities and the commercial exploitation of the developing technologies.” The exchange will develop stronger links with the international community and will result in the recruitment of high calibre students, as INI’s get India’s top graduates. The collaboration will also enable the leveraging of research funding through Indian funders and the involvement of the NFB will aid in creating the critical mass of biomaterials translation in Ireland. -Ends-

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

NUI Galway has announced details of a new scholarships scheme for postgraduate students designed to reward exceptional achievement. Postgraduate Scholarships valued at €1,500 per student will be awarded to all students studying a postgraduate taught Masters programme in the year 2013/14 who have a first class honours undergraduate degree. The new initiative is open to postgraduate students, applying for a fulltime Taught Masters programme due to commence in autumn 2013. Scholarships will be awarded to students accepted on a fulltime taught masters and who fulfill the criteria as outlined by the University. Interested students should visit the NUI Galway website for further detail about the scholarships and for information about the general postgraduate student application process: www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships. NUI Galway offers over 500 postgraduate taught programmes, with a wide range of programme choice across its five Colleges, and flexible modes of delivery. Postgraduate study is increasingly essential in enabling new graduates to develop specialist knowledge in particular fields, and in enhancing employability skills. But course fees, along with maintenance costs, put postgraduate study out of the reach of many talented students. Speaking at the announcement, which was made at the University’s recent Postgraduate Open Day on campus, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “The new scholarships were developed in response to the recent cuts in maintenance funding for postgraduate students. We know that more and more students are looking to postgraduate study as a means of enhancing their skills and their employability, but financial constraints are a big problem. We believe that these scholarships will enable more of the brightest and most committed students to progress to postgraduate study.” Postgraduate students make up a significant part of the student population at NUI Galway, with almost 4,000 students (taught and research) across all schools and disciplines. For more information on postgraduate programmes and scholarships at NUI Galway visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships or phone 091 492844 or email postgrad@nuigalway.ie. The next NUI Galway Postgraduate Open Day, showcasing the University’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options, will take place on Tuesday, 12 February, 2013. ENDS Fógraíonn OÉ Gaillimh Scoláireachtaí Nua den Scoth chun Mic Léinn Chumasacha a Aithint D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh sonraí faoi scéim nua scoláireachtaí do mhic léinn iarchéime chun gnóthachan eisceachtúil a aithint. Bronnfar Scoláireachtaí Iarchéime ar luach €1,500 an mac léinn ar gach mac léinn ar glacadh leo ar chláir lánaimseartha Mháistreachta Mhúinte in 2013/14 a bhfuil fochéim chéadonóracha acu. Tá an deis seo ar fáil do mhic léinn iarchéime a dhéanann iarratas ar chlár Máistreachta Múinte lánaimseartha atá le tosú i bhfómhar 2013. Bronnfar na scoláireachtaí ar mhic léinn a ghlacann le háit ar mháistreacht lánaimseartha teagaisc agus a chomhlíonann critéir na hOllscoile. Ba cheart do mhic léinn a bhfuil spéis acu anseo cuairt a thabhairt ar láithreán gréasáin OÉ Gaillimh chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi scoláireachtaí agus chun eolas ginearálta a fháil faoin bpróiseas iarratais do mhic léinn iarchéime: www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships. Cuireann OÉ Gaillimh os cionn 500 clár iarchéime múinte ar fáil le rogha leathan as cúig Choláiste agus modhanna solúbtha seachadta. Tá staidéar iarchéime ag éirí níos riachtanaí chun saineolas a thabhairt do chéimithe nua i réimsí áirithe agus chun scileanna fostaíochta a fheabhsú. Ach mar gheall ar tháillí na gcúrsaí mar aon le costais chothabhála bíonn go leor mic léinn chumasacha nach mbíonn in acmhainn tabhairt faoi staidéar iarchéime. Ag labhairt dó faoin bhfógra, a rinneadh ag an Lá Oscailte Iarchéime ar an gcampas le gairid, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Forbraíodh na scoláireachtaí nua mar fhreagra díreach ar na ciorruithe a rinneadh le déanaí ar mhaoiniú cothabhála do mhic léinn iarchéime. Tá a fhios againn go bhfuil níos mó mic léinn ag díriú ar staidéar iarchéime d’fhonn cur lena gcuid scileanna agus chun a gcuid deiseanna fostaíochta a fheabhsú, ach tá srianta airgid ag cothú fadhbanna móra. Creidimid go dtabharfaidh na scoláireachtaí seo deis do níos mó de na mic léinn is cliste agus is tiomanta dul ar aghaidh chuig staidéar iarchéime.” Is mic léinn iarchéime iad cuid mhór de phobal OÉ Gaillimh; tá beagnach 4,000 mac léinn (ar chláir mhúinte agus thaighde) sna scoileanna agus sna disciplíní ar fad. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil ar chláir agus ar scoláireachtaí iarchéime in OÉ Gaillimh téigh chuig http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships nó glaoigh ar  091 492844 nó seol rphost chuig postgrad@nuigalway.ie. Beidh cláir iarchéime lánaimseartha agus pháirtaimseartha OÉ Gaillimh ar taispeáint ag an gcéad Lá Oscailte Iarchéime eile a bheidh ar siúl Dé Máirt, an 12 Feabhra 2013, agus beidh idir mháistreachtaí teagaisc agus taighde, agus roghanna taighde dochtúireachta ar taispeáint ann. CRÍOCH

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Kildare on Wednesday, 14 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7-9pm in the Osprey Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare. 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 to answer any questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to 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 with 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 and a Bachelor of Arts with Journalism  which are brand new for 2013. “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 Kildare, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Kildare is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Kildare, contact NUI Galway’s Schools Liaison Officer, Siobhan Dorman on 086 0421591 or siobhan.dorman@nuigalway.ie. ENDS

Friday, 9 November 2012

Graduates and students of NUI Galway featured prominently at the annual National University of Ireland (NUI) Awards ceremony which took place recently in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham taking home a notable 30 awards. Two NUI Travelling Studentships in the Sciences were awarded to NUI Galway graduates Martin Browne, Biochemistry and Robert Richardson, Mechanical Engineering. The NUI E.J. Phelan Fellowship in International Law was awarded to NUI Galway graduate John Reynolds, who will take up his fellowship in the School of Law at NUI Galway. Other scholarships and awards include the French Government Medal and NUI Prize for Proficiency in French was awarded to Mariana Tempesti, with the Pierce Malone Scholarship in Engineering presented to Robert Richardson. The NUI Club London Scholarship was awarded to Conor Burke, a Film Studies student at NUI Galway. The Scoláireacht agus Duais Chiste Theach an Ardmhéara sa Ghaeilge/Mansion House Fund Scholarship and prizes went to Senan Mac Aoidh and Luke Callinan. Four Dr Henry Stewart Literary Scholarships and Prizes were presented to: Ruth Cormican, French; Fionnuala Fadian, Gaeilge; Lindsay Shorten, Italian; and Paul Griffin, Spanish. A total of 18 Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships and Prizes were awarded to NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. The award recipients were Antionette Flannery, Clinical Radiology; Cliona Small and Jennifer Small, Gynaecology and Obstetrics; Caoilfhionn Connolly, Medical Microbiology; Laura Nestor, Medicine; Elizabeth Howard, Midwifery; Yvonne McDonagh, Nursing; Jennifer Scott, Paediatrics; Sarah Cormican, Pathology; Cillian McNamara and Conor Fahy, Pharmacology; Sinead Coen, Physiology; Craig MacLiathain and Darren Kilmartin, Public Health; Elaine O’Connell, Occupational Therapy; Patricia Ruane and Veronica Smith, Podiatry; and Sorcha Rabbitte, Speech and Language Therapy. Speaking on the success of NUI Galway students and graduates, President Jim Browne, said: “This clearly highlights the high calibre of students studying on NUI Galway programmes and follows previous successes in these annual awards. I congratulate each of the Award recipients on their achievement, which will add to their academic reputation. I commend the Award recipients and I pay tribute to their teachers for their work in supporting students and helping them to achieve such high standards.” At the ceremony, the Chancellor, Dr Maurice Manning presented Travelling Studentships, Post-Doctoral Fellowships scholarships and other awards to over 115 students and graduates of the NUI Constituent Universities and Recognised Colleges.The total value of NUI Awards this year was over €1 million. In 2012, over one hundred students and graduates from the constituent universities and recognised colleges of the federal university received awards. NUI Galway, UCD, UCC, NUI Maynooth, RCSI and NCAD were represented among the award winners. -ENDS-

Monday, 12 November 2012

An information evening for prospective mature students will take place at NUI Galway on Thursday, 22 November. The event will take place from 7-9pm in the O’ Flaherty Theatre, Arts/Science Concourse, NUI Galway. The information evening is designed for people aged 23 and over who are considering embarking on full-time undergraduate degree programmes in NUI Galway in the 2013/2014 academic year. Information will be provided at this session on the programmes available to mature students across each of the University’s five Colleges: College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; College of Business, Public Policy and Law; College of Science; College of Engineering and Informatics; and College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies. Sessions will also cover topics such as entry requirements, application and selection procedures, financial queries and other support systems available within NUI Galway.  NUI Galway’s Mature Students Officer, Trish Hoare, said: “NUI Galway is proud to announce that mature students can now apply for entry to Medicine (GY501) and Arts with Psychology (GY104). We are also looking forward to next year’s new degree in Arts with Journalism (GY119).” Applications for third-level are made mostly through the CAO, which has a deadline of the 1 February, 2013. To qualify as a mature student you must be 23, or over, on or before 1 January, 2013. Mature applicants for programmes in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies degrees are also required to register prior to 1 February, 2013 for the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) exam which takes place on Saturday, 23 February, 2013. For more information on future upcoming CAO advisory sessions see http://www.nuigalway.ie/mature/publicevents.html or email Trish Hoare at maturestudents@nuigalway.ie.  The University’s Mature Students Guidebook is also available, along with further information, at www.nuigalway.ie/mature. -Ends-

Monday, 12 November 2012

NUI Galway’s Drama and Theatre programmes will present a public reading from the first biography of Stewart Parker, one of Northern Ireland’s most important playwrights. Marilynn Richtarik, author of Stewart Parker: A Life, will deliver the reading in Galway’s Druid Theatre on Thursday, 22 November at 7pm. Stewart Parker’s plays have been compared to the great dramas of Brian Friel, yet he was in many ways unique. His plays Spokesong, Northern Star and Pentecost are regarded as masterpieces but tragically Parker died at the young age of 47. A contemporary of Seamus Heaney, he from a working-class Protestant background and shared with other Northern Irish writers of his generation the challenge of dealing with the Troubles in a politically, morally, and aesthetically responsible manner. The story of how Parker met these demands through his writing affords the reader insights into the experience of daily life in the shadow of political violence. Based on Parker’s personal papers including diaries, notebooks and early drafts of his literary works, and on interviews with those who knew him best, Stewart Parker: A Life describes his career in the context of both his personal history and the turbulent times through which he lived in his native Belfast. Covering all of his major works for radio, television, the stage and film, this biography illuminates the genesis and meaning of classic plays such as Spokesong and Pentecost – works that continue to shed light on Northern Irelands’ past, present, and future. Marilynn Richtarik is Associate Professor of English at Georgia State University and a leading authority on theatre from Northern Ireland. She is an author of numerous articles on Stewart Parker and has written programme notes for productions of his plays in London, Dublin, Belfast, and Washington, DC. Dr Patrick Lonergan, Director of the BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome Marilynn Richtarik to Galway to read from her exciting new biography of Stewart Parker. Parker is one of the greatest dramatists ever to emerge from the north of Ireland and although his life was cut tragically short, he wrote some of the best Irish plays of the late twentieth century. This public event is an opportunity for all theatre lovers in Galway to come together to find out more about this important figure.” Entry to the reading is free but space is limited and copies of Stewart Parker: A Life will be on sale after the reading. For further information please email Patrick.Lonergan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 12 November 2012

NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute is hosting an ‘Art from Science’ exhibition as part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival. The exhibition will open on Tuesday, 13 November and run through until the big festival finale at NUI Galway on Sunday, 25 November. Science and technology inspired art is not a new concept, but increasingly art is being used as a medium that invites the audience to think about a scientific subject in a novel way. Julia Baer, a ceramicist and scientist who recently completed a Masters Degree in Botany at NUI Galway, explains: “Incorporating aspects of science and nature into artwork creates an opportunity for people to look at science in a way that they might not have before. My ceramic work includes images of marine life such as seaweeds and radiolarians. Radiolarians are microscopically small animals that occur in all the world’s oceans. People are often surprised to find out that the delicate prints on my work derive from the natural world they can potentially find at their doorsteps! I think those that view and buy my pieces also walk away with a greater appreciation for marine life that they may never before have thought of as beautiful or even knew existed.” Julia’s work will be displayed alongside a number of other pieces and projects including ten large murals created by artist Brian Brennan for the recent Sea2Sky science event. Also on display will be a sculpture and paintings from Chemistry’s Distill Life exhibit, ‘Fascination of Plants’ photographs. Poetry by Moya Roddy and Pete Mullineaux, as well as artwork from Ryan Institute researchers will also feature. The highlight for many will be the multi-room interactive installation known as the BEAST!, created for the recent Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. The BEAST! (Baboró Environment, Art, Science and Technology) project saw scientists from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute and Baboró artists working with primary schools on issues related to sustainable living in the 21st century. The resulting installation came out of the pupils reflecting on what they had learned from the scientists, and working with the artists to express their ideas in a very creative, and thought-provoking, way. “The BEAST! project was such a unique way for NUI Galway researchers to connect with school children, and share ideas on all sorts of subjects related to environmental change, like sustainable fisheries, eco-housing, and power and efficiency”, said Professor Colin Brown, Director of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research. He added: “The artistic installation is a fantastic way to ensure that what these pupils learned can be shared with a much wider audience. It’s a beautiful and impressive piece of work and we are delighted to work with the Baboró team showcasing it on the NUI Galway campus.”  The ‘Art from Science’ exhibition is located in a space adjacent to the Bank of Ireland Theatre at NUI Galway, in a building known as the Soils Lab.  It will be open weekdays only from 10am to 5pm, apart from Sunday, 25 November when it will be open all day as part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition, also on the NUI Galway campus.  The exhibition is free and open to all. To book in a group for a guided tour please contact sarah.knight@nuigalway.ie . -Ends-

Monday, 12 November 2012

Some 130 students and teachers recentlydescended on NUI Galway to participate in an extended learning workshop, Bank Your Future. This national financial education initiative by NUI Galway and Junior Achievement, supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is designed to educate second-level students to establish good financial habits to carry them through their adult lives During the event Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway presented students from Mercy College, Coláiste Iognáid, Presentation College Athenry, and Archbishop McHale College in Tuam, with certificates for completing the Bank Your Future programme. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is proud to partner Junior Achievement and recognise the secondary school students for their successful completion of such a vital skills development programme. At NUI Galway we are deeply committed through our strategic plan to engaging regionally with NGOs and schools. Hundreds of university students are volunteering with over thirty homework and youth clubs across the city and county to raise educational aspirations.” NUI Galway’s Access Programme and its ALIVE Programme, working with Junior Achievement, helps create a relationship between secondary schools and NUI Galway throughout their second-level education. The NUI Galway Access Programme targets people whose access to education generally, and higher education in particular, is or has been restricted. Through developing alternative entry routes, and providing educational aspirations in both primary and secondary schools, the Access Programme aims to increase participation amongst those target groups, who for a variety of social and economic reasons are under-represented at third-level. The ALIVE programme at NUI Galway aims to enhance partnerships between the University and the wider community through provision of a supportive environment in which students and community can liaise through volunteering. Bank Your Future is a six-week programme taught in the classroom by independent business volunteers from a variety of business backgrounds. This academic year will see approximately 1,750 students across Galway, Dublin, Leitrim, Sligo, Limerick, Cork and Waterford participating in this initiative. The programme includes: the importance of education and its role in improving potential earning power balancing salary and expenditure using credit and cash wisely the importance of saving the benefits of insurance Findings from the evaluation of the Bank Your Future project last year indicated an increase in students’ confidence in knowing how to manage their money having completed the programme. “Empowering young people with the skills surrounding the complex area of personal finance will allow these students not only a firm understanding of their future financial choices and responsibilities, but also of the importance of their career choices and potential to create fulfilling and independent lives”, said Teri Kelly, Communications Manager, Bank of America Merrill Lynch. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The 15th Galway Science and Technology Festival, part of National Science Week and sponsored by Medtronic Galway officially opened on Monday 12th November at the Orbsen Building, NUI Galway. Attending the opening were Galway City Mayor, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, Tom Hyland, Chairman of Galway Science & Technology Festival, John MacNamara, Director of R&D Medtronic, Dr. Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, Professor Tom Sherry, Dean of Science NUI Galway and Michael Carmody, President of GMIT. The Festival runs from the 12th–25th November and includes free shows and activities for primary and secondary school students and a family day out at the Final Day Exhibition on Sunday 25th November. It aims to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people by bringing shows to schools throughout Galway city and county over the two-week free event. John MacNamara, Director of Research & Development at Medtronic commented, “This festival is so important in terms of engaging the interest of the younger generation in Science and Technology and the exciting career possibilities open to them, ensuring we have the pool of talented scientists and engineers so necessary for Ireland's future success as a nation.” Primary schools can book shows to visit their school for free including Cell Exploration for 5th and 6th class  students, a hands on practice of cellular and molecular biology for budding explorers. Jumping Clay by Jim Daly is an education programme for 3D clay modelling, that can be used in animation or just making popular art. Jane McLoughlin’s Fun with Science presents easy science experiments and use of recycled materials and everyday foods to learn about science. Additional primary school shows include Modern Day Medicines, a half-day workshop at GMIT for 5th and 6th class students that will explain how everyday medicines that we buy in pharmacies work to treat a variety of conditions and diseases. The School of Chemistry at NUI Galway will run a Primary Schools Outreach program, Kitchen Chemistry, aimed at introducing primary school children to the exciting world of Chemistry. Secondary schools can also avail of free shows including Dr Ken’s Entertaining Science Circus Show, which demonstrates how circus performers make use of scientific principles in their tricks and stunts. The Strange World of Forces with Paul McCrory, a fast-moving interactive show exploring the forces that are so important in allowing us to move. Celestia and Stellarium Workshops will take students on an interactive journey through the Solar System highlighting latest discoveries. Bend it like Beckham by James Soper NCBES Roadshow will present an informative presentation outlining the links between Science, Engineering and Medicine. Cosmic Explorers with Robert Hill demonstrates how the Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionised our understanding of the cosmos and helped us to better understand the universe in which we reside. Both primary and secondary schools can book Galway Bay FM School Tours allowing students experience the technology involved in producing a live radio show. The Centre of Astronomy, NUI Galway will host 3-D Tours of the Universe taking students on a trip from the earth to nearby stars, across our Galaxy and through the whole Universe. Blackrock Castle Observatory’s StarDome allows students discover the wonders of the night sky in their own school hall and The National Computer and Communications Museum will provide a fascinating insight to the development of communications and computing technology from ancient heiroglyphics to today’s internet. During the Final Day Exhibition at NUI Galway on Sunday 25th November visitors can enjoy over 80 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment and 20 separate shows for all ages. It will take place at the Bailey Allen Hall, Orbsen and IT Buildings and has expanded to the Aula Maxima and new Engineering Building at NUI Galway. Shows include the K’nex Roadshow, which is based on a dynamic open ended spatial building system, Mr Bug with Matt Lewis allows children get up close to friendly tropical animals and even stroke a lizard and a snake. Other Exhibition shows include Killaloe Exploration Dome, a mobile planetarium designed to explore science, astronomy, geology and geography in a fun and interactive way. True Physics Show with Declan Holmes is an interactive hands on science show where students participate in launching rockets and flying helicopters. A Lego Competition sponsored by Lego and Smyth’s Toys Superstore offers a ‘Technic Lego Challenge’ where participants have 50 minutes to build a car of the future. Sue McGrath’s Chemistry Show will demonstrate wacky experiments like super foams, colour changes and disgusting lime and Black John The Bogus Pirate, is a cartoon workshop aimed at teaching children of all ages about marine environment while having fun. Full Programme details available at www.galwayscience.ie and the Festival Exhibition will open at 10am on Sunday 25th November. Bookings can be made at www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com to help people plan their day. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

From Monday, 12 to Friday, 23 November, NUI Galway scientists Dr Tim Downing and Dr Enda O’Connell will take part in a novel new online science engagement event. The two researchers will be part of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here!, which will see them chatting with students from 36 schools across the island of Ireland. Dr Tim Downing is a lecturer with the School of Mathematics at NUI Galway. His research involves discovering mutations linked to drug resistance in flesh-eating parasites. He is looking forward to the new online challenge: “This lets scientists and students chat, discuss and learn more about exciting new research, what the big questions are in science now, and how science is perceived in schools.” Dr Enda O’Connell is a senior technical officer with the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at NUI Galway. His work involves using a robot to help find cures for different types of cancers. He said: “I’m really looking forward to chatting with the students, answering their questions about science in general and my work in NUI Galway, and getting a new perspective on what it means to be a scientist.” Students take part in quickfire Facebook-style online live chats, ask the scientists all the questions they want and then vote for their favourite scientist to win a prize of €500, to communicate their work with the public. This is the first time the event has come to Ireland, and it’s proved very popular with teachers. The public can watch live chats and read the students’ questions online at http://imascientist.ie and follow @imascientist on Twitter. -ends-

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

NUI Galway recently held its annual Career Mentoring Day giving 25 students from the University’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics the opportunity to meet with volunteer mentors holding senior positions across various professions on a one-to-one basis. Topics discussed throughout the mentoring session included the challenges of the current employment market, the importance of networking and making effective job applications. The mentors also offered careers advice covering sectors such as marketing, accountancy, management, consultancy, teaching and human resource management. Dr Gerard Turley, Programme Director for the Bachelor of Commerce programme at NUI Galway, said: “Mentoring provides a crucial link between university life and the workplace. In recognition of the difficult transition from college days to work life, the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway organises mentoring sessions for different business programmes, including undergraduate Bachelor of Commerce students, Masters of Economic Science students and Executive MBAs.” Students participating found the opportunity to meet with senior professionals invaluable with NUI Galway second year Bachelor of Commerce (International) student Nadja Lorenz commenting: “It was a fantastic and unique opportunity. Going into the event, I knew exactly what I wanted but now, and this is crucial, I know how to get there. I can already start working on it with the advice I got from my mentor. It's much easier now that I know where to start and what to pay attention to.  The advice I got was unique and invaluable.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Exponential, an NUI Galway event which allows students to meet local company founders, entrepreneurs and like-minded people, in a fun and casual way, will take place in the Townhouse Bar on Tuesday, 20 November at 7.30pm. Exponential allows the opportunity to meet some of Galway's technology start-up companies and young innovative entrepreneurs, share ideas and learn how some NUI Galway graduates started their own business, right out of college. Throughout the night attendees will be able to interact with local start-up companies, speak to potential employers in a casual environment and learn what it takes to develop a business idea, form a team, raise finance, setup and run a company. Those who already have a novel idea for a product or business can share their idea and get advice and feedback from fellow students and other entrepreneurs. Guest speakers on the night will include NUI Galway graduate Paul Killoran of Starlight Solutions and Liam Ryan of GetHealth app. Both Paul and Liam set up successful ventures while still in college and will be at the event to share their experiences and give advice. This is a free event, but you do need to register at http://exponential1.eventbrite.com/ or via the Exponential website http://exponential.ly/. Exponential is a project undertaken as part of the NUI Galway/Students’ Union EXPLORE initiative. Further details on this initiative are available at http://www.su.nuigalway.ie/explore/. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D. will today officially launch the Education Matters Yearbook 2012 at the offices of National University of Ireland in Dublin. Now in its sixth edition, and supported this year by NUI Galway, Education Matters Yearbook 2012 is a contemporaneous, living history of Irish education over the course of the last year. Compiled and presented to complement other seminal Irish educational publications - curriculum, policy and research, the Education Matters Yearbook 2012 collects in one publication key voices and perspectives - national and international - on key policy, practice and pedagogy developments and innovations in 2012. With a foreword from the Minister for Education and Skills, it aims to provide a comprehensive compendium of all significant events, trends and debates in Irish education. This information is accompanied by review articles, commentary and analysis by leading educators, parents, students, educational organisations and the educational unions.  Speaking in advance of the launch, Minister Quinn said: “I am delighted to launch the Education Matters Yearbook 2012. This is a very worthwhile compendium of all the significant events, trends and debates in Irish education throughout the year. It covers all levels, from pre-school to 4th level, reflecting the various views and perspectives in Irish education.” Among the notable additions to the Education Matters Yearbook this year are an article from the teaching diaspora/Irish teachers abroad; an article on the development of civic engagement at third-level; and the experience of being a student teacher completing the Professional Diploma in Education. Speaking of the announcement, Dr Tony Hall of NUI Galway and Editor of Education Matters Yearbook 2012, said: "Education Matters Yearbook 2012 provides an invaluable, unified resource of information about Irish education - practice, policy and pedagogy - from across all sectors of the educational system: preschool and early childhood, primary, post-primary, the Irish language, third and fourth levels. It is a unique repertory of information and insight on Irish education." While retaining its familiar, easy-to-read 'look and feel', the layout of the Yearbook has been changed this year. To enhance readability and navigability further, selected news and media items are interleaved with relevant feature articles. In a time of change and challenge in Irish education, Education Matters Yearbook 2012 addresses the salient developments currently taking place in Irish education, including the growth of the early childhood education sector; patronage and pluralism in primary education; curriculum reform and literacy and numeracy at post-primary level; and the changing landscape of Irish tertiary education and research. ENDS

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Four recent NUI Galway grads received gold medals from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, having won various categories in the 2012 Undergraduate Awards recently. The Ireland-based academic awards programme identifies top students across the island of Ireland for their innovative undergraduate research.  The awards ceremony marked the culmination of the Undergraduate Awards Summit, an annual three-day event in Dublin, Ireland that brought together some of the world’s most impressive budding academics. These are the top performing entrants in this year’s Undergraduate Awards programme, which received 2,890 submissions from third level institutions on the island of Ireland as well as elite universities primarily in the UK, USA, Canada and Ireland. Addressing the attendees, patron of the awards programme President Higgins commended the students on their remarkable achievement. “All of the submissions being recognised here today are a reassuring reminder of the great wealth of innovative and imaginative talent that exists amongst our young people – the leaders, policy makers, scientists and artists of the future. I would like to congratulate all of our awardees here today and wish them every success.” A “junior Nobel Prize”, the Undergraduate Awards is an initiative that aims to identify and connect the world’s top students, while also running a separate programme throughout all third level institutions on the island of Ireland. With 20 categories, it recognises excellence and innovation across the sciences, humanities and creative arts. The four recent graduates who were recognised for undergraduate coursework conducted at NUI Galway were: Neasa O’Callaghan, who won the Ancient & Classical Studies for her essay ‘Mapping Europa from Antiquity to Present: Contrasting Images of an Abductee and Queen’; Isaac Burke, who won the Mathematical & Physical Sciences category for his project ‘Finding a Non-Broken Circuit Basis for the Orlik-Solomon Algebra of an Arrangement of Hyperplanes’; Cathal Kelly, who won the Engineering & Mechanical Sciences category for his project ‘Phosphorous Removal From Wastewater Using Pyrrhotite’; and Marek Bohacek, who won the Psychology category for his essay ‘Process Timing and its Relations to the Perception of Tonal Harmony: an EEG Study’. Louise Hodgson, Programme Director of the Undergraduate Awards said: “Every year the Undergraduate Awards has recognised outstanding students and graduates, but I think our winners today are the most impressive bunch so far. Congratulations to them all! I know they’ll go on to be leaders and pioneers in their fields, and I’m glad the Undergraduate Awards can be one of the first to recognise their work.” ENDS

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Music for Galway’s archive has been catalogued at NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library and Erika Casey, founding Member of Music for Galway, will officially launch the archive on Monday, 19 November at 6pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. The evening will include an exhibition of material from the archive, an overview of the archive material and a performance from Con Tempo Quartet. Ranging in date from 1981 to 2011 the archive includes numerous series of original records documenting the Irish and international acts that played to audiences across Galway and the West of Ireland. The archive traces the relationship between Music for Galway and NUI Galway, as the group found a home for concerts and their grand piano at the Aula Maxima on the University's campus. The archive consists of nineteen boxes of records comprising of a comprehensive record of Music for Galway's legacy. These include records of productions including posters, flyers, invitations, programs, press releases and number of black and white and colour photographs of Music for Galway committee members, musicians and concerts. Financial records, details of membership and rates, correspondence between Music for Galway and various musicians and groups, newsletters and press cuttings of news and coverage of concerts and events are also included in the archive. Music for Galway’s archive will offer researchers a unique insight into the establishment and growth of one the West's premier music groups while documenting the creative and administrative processes of Music for Galway's numerous achievements. NUI Galway Librarian, John Cox, said: “The University was honoured to receive this important archival collection in 2007 and the James Hardiman Library is delighted to be able to open it for consultation now that it is fully catalogued. The catalogue is itself an excellent resource and will make it easy to use the archive productively.” -ENDS-

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards, a competition to encourage enterprise and innovation among students, has been launched at NUI Galway. Now in its third year, the initiative invites students across campus to put forward proposals for a project or business, with a prize of €10,000 investment capital for the overall winner and two runners up prizes of €5,000 each. The NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards aim to unlock the potential of NUI Galway students by providing financial support and expertise for students who wish to start a project in the areas of business and social entrepreneurship. The NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards are generously supported by NUI Galway Students’ Union Commercial Services Ltd., NUI Galway and the NUI Galway Technology Transfer Office. Paul Curley, President of NUI Galway Students’ Union, said: “The Enterprise Awards are a showcase for the best and brightest student minds on campus and reflect the dynamic, innovative and creative graduates we all wish to see emerging from NUI Galway, now and in the years ahead.” Last year’s winner Niall O’Connor of SonorPlex said: “Participating in the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise awards really helped me to develop a concept into a real-world proposition. The profile generated - even by taking part, not to mention winning was extremely valuable. The prize money is now helping me to take the project to the next level.”  The closing date for submissions is 5pm Friday 30th November. More information is available at www.su.nuigalway.ie  -ENDS-

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Swim Ireland, in conjunction with Kingfisher Club and NUI Galway launched its new Connacht Swimming Performance Centre on Wednesday, 14 November at the Kingfisher Club, Galway. The event was attended by representatives from NUI Galway, the Irish Sports Council, Swim Ireland, Kingfisher Club, Connacht clubs, swimmers and coaches. The Connacht Swimming Performance Centre(in operation since September 2012) is based at the Kingfisher Club in NUI Galway and is led by swimming coach Pearse McGuigan, in conjunction with Peter Banks, National Performance Director. The Centre is designed specifically to provide additional training hours, develop skills, provide opportunities for the best swimmers to train together on a weekly basis and provide support to club, coaches and athletes.  A total of twenty five swimmers currently avail of the centre, across a variety of training programmes. Swimmers are offered a range of sports science services such as strength and conditioning, video analysis and physiology and they can avail of both full and part-time programmes. Swim Ireland’s National Performance Director, Peter Banks, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Kingfisher Club and NUI Galway to develop swimming in Connacht. The new centre will help us to raise the level of training opportunities for Irish swimmers at home, and will also provide the structure and programmes to enable swimmers who are based in Connacht to achieve success at European, World, and ultimately Olympic level. We are grateful for the support of the Irish Sports Council, Kingfisher Club, NUI Galway and other partners in this regard.” Speaking at the launch Kingfisher Managing Director, Joe Cosgrove, commented: “The Kingfisher Fitness Club are honoured to be chosen as Connacht’s Premier Performance Centre. Through our partnership we strive to help the young talent steadily emerging throughout Connacht and allow them develop their skills to propel them towards successfully performing at international standard. We fully believe that we can support the new generation of Irish swimmers with better training facilities and opportunities. By setting ourselves high standards and living and working by these standards we cannot but see results.” Gary Ryan, Elite Sports Development Officer, NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting development for Sport in the region. NUI Galway has a long history of supporting excellence in sport and this Performance Centre is an important venture for Swimming in Ireland. We hope that this will not only help the development of young sporting talent but encourage more students to study at NUI Galway and progress their sporting performance to the highest levels.” - ENDS –

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Full Health Medical secures €20,000 in funding and go forward to national final Galway company, Full Health Medical was named the Best Emerging company at the Connacht and Leinster final of the 2012 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn all-island business competition. Full Health Medical which is based in the Business Innovation Centre of NUI Galway beat tough competition from the other Connacht and Leinster finalists in its category to win €20,000 to help finance the early stages of their ventures.  The company will now go on to compete in the all-island final of the competition, which will take place on the 28th November 2012 at the iconic Titanic Belfast building. Now in its tenth year, Seedcorn is the island’s biggest business competition for early stage/high growth companies in any sector, from any part of the island.  The competition, aimed at companies who have a new equity funding requirement, has a record prize fund of €280,000.  To date, InterTradeIreland has supported over 1,600 enterprising companies through the Seedcorn process and previous finalists have gone on to leverage around €159m worth of equity since taking part. The Seedcorn competition is considered an important barometer for new and emerging companies among the investment and business communities. Full Health Medical, has designed a system that addresses one of the most basic deficits in healthcare – the meaningful communication of test results in the context of a person’s own history and lifestyle.  Developed over three years by a team led by GP and A&E doctor Ann Shortt, the Full Health system uses a series of clinical algorithms and combines medical, family history and lifestyle information with the examinations and test results to generate a personalised report for the doctor’s approval.  The results are then presented in an easily understandable format, complete with recommendations and advice for the patient.  This system offers doctors a huge saving of time and expense, and allows a doctor to provide a better service to significantly more patients. Paul McCarthy, Managing Director of Full Health Medical said; “We are thrilled to have won the Connacht and Leinster Emerging Category award and we’re going to put all of our efforts into the national final at the end of this month.  Seedcorn is such a recognised competition so to win this accolade is a great milestone for us.  After years of extensive development and testing, winning the Seedcorn regional final really validates the hard work that our team has put into the company.  Although we have already secured a number of key contracts, it is only now we are launching for the wider primary care and corporate health market.” Thomas Hunter McGowan, Chief Executive, InterTradeIreland added; “It is inspiring to see the level of innovative thinking, determination and optimism for the future displayed by businesses coming through this process.  These companies have the potential to be a key driver of future economic growth.  The Seedcorn competition reaches out to businesses at the early stages in their development and it is exciting for InterTradeIreland to work with these companies at such a crucial stage of their business.  The quality of companies in the Connacht and Leinster final was outstanding and I congratulate Full Health Medical on its win today from these very competitive fields.” Full Health Medical will go head-to-head with the winners of the Northern Ireland, Dublin and Munster finals for the title of overall Best Emerging company. Finalist companies also benefit from being part of the Seedcorn Network – an extensive business and investment community that helps boost their profile, contacts and future potential investment opportunities. The all-island finals will take place at the Titanic Belfast building on the 28th November, where companies are in with a chance to compete for the overall ‘Best Emerging Company’ prize worth €50,000 or the overall ‘Best High Growth Company’ prize worth €100,000.  Previous finalists have included companies from sectors including technology, online, medical devices, green tech solutions, healthcare solutions and consumer products.  Further details are available on www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn. Companies can follow the Competition on Twitter (@ITI_seedcorn) where they can get valuable information and advice.  ENDS