Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Economics Discipline in the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics has established a new network - the NUI Galway Economics Graduates Network – in order to establish closer links between the Discipline and its graduates.  The Economics Discipline is proud of its association with its graduates many of whom have gone on to make a significant contribution in different areas of business, economic and public life in Ireland. The Economics Discipline at NUI Galway has itself made significant strides in recent years in regard to both research and teaching and prides itself on being an influential  force within the economics community in Ireland and internationally. The network will be launched in Lecture Hall 1, St. Anthony’s, NUI Galway between 4pm and 7.30pm on Friday, 2 November. The event will begin with a talk delivered by Max Watson on Financial Integration in Europe: Lessons from Ireland. Mr Watson is a Fellow of Wolfson College, and is also the Director of a research programme on the Political Economy of Financial Markets at the University of Oxford. He has served as a Director of the Central Bank of Ireland, and co-authored a report for the Oireachtas on the sources of Ireland's Banking Crisis. Following Mr Watson’s talk, the network will be formally launched with remarks from representatives of the University, the economics discipline, employers, and former graduates. The launch will feature an outline of a mentoring programme that is being introduced this academic year. The goal is to pair around twenty former graduates now employed in prominent positions in leading private and public organisations with twenty of the current students. The mentoring programme is just one part of a broader programme of activities designed to make it easier for graduates in economics to make the transition to the workplace. For further information please contact Brendan Kennelly, JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway. Email: brendan.kennelly@nuigalway.ie -ends-

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Report to be published on 2 November A cure for osteoarthritis would be a sensation. Many international research teams are working towards this goal, but few, if any, of these groups have asked the ‘target group’ of their research, patients and interested lay people, for their opinion. Researchers at the Science Foundation Ireland funded Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway have led the Irish effort to hear the views of the ordinary patient member of the general public. The speakers of the patient and citizen panels will officially present their report to Marian Harkin, MEP at 5pm this Friday, 2 November in the Orbsen Building at NUI Galway. Members of the general public, political and scientific communities and the media are expected to attend. The research was run by a project called GAMBA (Gene Activated Matrices for Bone and Cartilage Regeneration in Arthritis), which asked osteoarthritis patients and citizens to participate in an intensive dialogue and to evaluate their EU-funded research. A series of discussion panels took place in Germany, Switzerland and in Galway and surprisingly, the opinions generated by the five panels involved are quite similar, despite different professional and cultural backgrounds. Involving end users at the early stages of research is a novel and exciting approach which could lead to better understanding and acceptance by the public and also gives valuable insights to the researchers themselves. Researchers at REMEDI in NUI Galway were joined by 17 patients and 10 interested citizens, aged between 19 and 78. Over the course of four days the volunteers were given comprehensive information. Researchers, journalists, ethicists, surgeons and health professionals from NUI Galway, and elsewhere in Ireland and the UK, joined them to discuss the opportunities, risks and the ethical aspects of adult stem cell and gene therapies and nanomedicine. The resulting report emphasises the need for more research in osteoarthritis, allied with a responsibility for researchers not to raise false hopes in patients. Panels expressed concerns about the ability of ethics committees to assess complex topics under time pressure with the Irish citizen panel called for a peer review system. All panel groups were adamant that good communication between research teams and between researchers and the public was of utmost importance and stressed that successes and failures in research needed to be published. All panels also thought it was important not to neglect research into the causes of osteoarthritis and to also explore alternative and complementary medicine. Overall, the Irish participants were the most positive in the evaluation of the process with the final outcome a tentative endorsement of the GAMBA approach. “Our experience with the Galway panels was very positive and rewarding.  The dialogue challenged us as researchers to be more thoughtful about research questions and ethical standards, to place the patients centre stage and engage with the public in general as we develop novel therapies for the medicines of the future,” says Dr Mary Murphy, the GAMBA leader at REMEDI.  -ends-

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Athlone on Thursday, 8 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, 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 our Bachelor of Arts with Journalism which is 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 Dublin, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Athlone 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 Athlone, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Celine O’Donovan on 087 239 1219 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie . ENDS

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Viscus Biologics LLC, Cleveland, Ohio, has secured an 18-month option to conduct further research into the development and commercialisation of a new tissue repair material developed by the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at National University of Ireland, Galway.  Research on the technology is being carried out by Viscus Biologics at its facility in Cleveland, Ohio. The technology is the result of ongoing research at NFB to develop novel biomaterials for soft tissue repair in reconstructive surgery and chronic wound healing. The new technology, called cholecyst-derived extracellular matrix (CEM), is derived from a gallbladder from which the native cells have been removed to leave behind a mesh-like collagen structure. This structure may then be stabilised by various chemical techniques. The nano-topography of the CEM makes it ideal for supporting new cell growth while its mechanical properties ensure that it has the strength and elasticity required for tissue repair. Furthermore the CEM is completely reabsorbed by the body over time, making further surgery for its removal unnecessary. Some of the initial work was funded by Enterprise Ireland and subsequently by Science Foundation Ireland. Viscus Biologics is affiliated with Galway based Proxy Biomedical, Ltd, a leading innovator in the development of next generation medical products using proprietary biomaterials technology. “We are delighted to enter into this collaboration with NFB and look forward to developing the full potential of the cholecyst technology developed by Professor Pandit,” commented Dr Thomas Neenan, President and CEO of Viscus Biologics. “Our Irish parent company, Proxy Biomedical, Ltd has enjoyed a long a fruitful relationship with National University of Ireland Galway, and we look forward to a similar productive relationship as we bring innovative technology such as the cholocyst platform to the market.” Viscus Biologics’ products provide surgeons with a variety of innovative surgical products with three-dimensional structures and properties similar to those found in native tissue.  The company’s first product ALLOMEMTM (human peritoneal tissue) is currently marketed in the US.      NFB, which was established with funding from 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. -ends-

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Winners were selected from almost 4,000 submissions from 180 institutions worldwide Four NUI Galway students are winners of the 2013 Undergraduate Awards - an international academic awards programme that identifies top students across the globe through their innovative undergraduate research. A further five NUI Galway students were highly commended. Marcus Byrne was announced winner of the Classical Studies and Archaeology category award for his paper entitled Inferring Status From Early Bronze Age Burial whilst Aisling Ní Churraighín secured a win in the Irish Language, Literature and Folklore catergory for her essay Seán Ó hEochaidh – Bailitheor Béaloideasa in Iardheisceart Thír Chonaill sna 1930aidí: Léargas ón Dialann.  Joining them as winners were Khai El Baba Jones in the Philosophical Studies and Theology category with his essay Faith in Kant: The religiosity of moral faith and its relation to ecclesiastical faith in Kant’s thought and John Birrane for his essay on Is There a Need for Positive Psychology?which bagged him an award in the Psychology category. John’s essay not only won the Irish category for Psychology, but also won the overall international award. Judged by a panel made up of academics and industry experts from each field, the winning essays were selected from almost 4000 submissions in over 180 colleges and universities across the globe, to be named the best undergraduate in their field. Congratulating the students, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: "The success of these talented students highlights the high quality of study which our undergraduate students are engaged in.  Their success in these Awards will undoubtedly add lustre to their academic development, as well as underscore NUI Galway’s increasing profile as a centre of world-class research and teaching".  He continued by wishing them continued success in their academic endeavours. The four winning NUI Galway students, along with the 39 other UA winners, will be brought to Dublin for the UA Summit from 13-15 November.  Highly Commended students will also have the opportunity to attend the Summit by purchasing a ticket to the three-day event. The Summit is designed to celebrate these outstanding students from across the world, and to inspire them with speakers assembled from a diverse range of backgrounds. For further information on the UA Summit and the results of the 2013 Undergraduate Awards, please see www.undergraduateawards.com. -Ends-

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Research identified the key distinction between ‘idea scouts’ who introduce new ideas and ‘idea connectors’ who help make them a reality. NUI Galway Lecturer in Business Information Systems Dr Eoin Whelan is the winner of the prestigious 2013 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan Technology Review for the ‘most outstanding’ article published on Enterprise Social Media. The article titled ‘Creating Employee Networks That Deliver Open Innovation’ is authored by Dr Eoin Whelan, Salvatore Parise, Jasper de Valk and Rick Aalbers. They examine how companies such as Procter & Gamble, Cisco Systems, Genzyme, General Electric and Intel are often acknowledged innovation leaders. The authors argue that others have failed to match them because the mix of external and internal ideas for innovation doesn’t happen as efficiently. The authors identified, and mapped, the mix of real-life and virtual connections that go into bringing an idea to fruition. They identified ‘idea scouts’ who, often sourcing information on the web, combine that with their company’s expertise to come up with an idea. The authors also identified, however, ‘idea connectors’ who have the interpersonal skills and informal contacts to get the buy-in to make those ideas a reality. Interestingly ‘idea connectors’ aren’t necessarily employed as such, or can come from any level, senior or junior, in the organisation. Dr Eoin Whelan said, ‘we’re very honoured to receive this prestigious award, and hope that it will focus further attention on our research in social media in enterprise. The research is, we feel, of particular benefit to senior managers and R&D leaders to identify, encourage and reward the idea scouts and connectors for their work in bringing ideas to life.”  A member of the award winning NUI Galway Cairnes School of Business, Public Policy and Law, Dr Whelan, from Portlaoise, Co. Laois, lectures in Business Information Systems, and his research focuses on how technologies such as social media and big data both enable and constrain organisational innovation and productivity. The NUI Galway Business Information Systems degree course in the Cairnes School is one of only eight European undergraduate programmes to receive five-year EPAS (European Foundation for Management Development) accreditation. -ends-

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

There has been huge interest in the free research festival, Sea2Sky on Friday 28 September, according to organisers NUI Galway. With free access to the ‘Accelerating Science’ exhibition in Leisureland, over 40 stands in the Galway Bay Hotel showcasing local research, and open access to the Atalantaquaria, interest is high. While school visits will take place throughout the day, the public are invited to attend the event from early afternoon. Celebrating the natural physical world from the marine, through the atmosphere to space, the free, family event will see hundreds of researchers share their work with the public. For those with an interest in space and astronomy a Science Cafe discussing the topic "Is the future of Space Human or Robotic" will take place in the evening where expert panellists in Galway and Cork will discuss the topic during a live link-up with former NASA astronaut Dan Tani in California.    There will also be a Planetarium Show with CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory and 3D Tours of the Universe, while Galway Astronomy Club will provide guided use of telescopes to view night sky. For matters marine, local scuba divers are to give an exhibition in the aquarium, the Marine Institute will showcase their Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) and a Japanese Oyster Farmer will speak in conjunction with the Galway Oyster Festival. Thousands are expected to visit Salthill in Galway on the night, to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, to watch demonstrations and simulations, to exchange ideas and get to know the researchers. “We had over 10,000 visitors last year, as the event spills out onto the Prom in Salthill, we blend research and science with art and innovation at this event. We have puppet shows, art exhibitions made from recycled materials, murals, flying fish, and a photo competition”, explains chief organiser, NUI Galway’s Dr Andrew Shearer, a lecturer in physics. Sea2Sky is part of European Researchers Night, which takes place on Friday, 28 September, across 800 venues in 320 cities. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, will officially open the Irish event. Sea2Sky is organised by NUI Galway, with huge support from partners the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria, and CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork. As part of the European Researchers Night 2012 organisers of the Sea2Sky event are asking all young photographers to submit photographs to the free competition entitled ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’. Open to students of all ages across Irish primary and post-primary schools, the aim is to encourage talented young photographers to capture unique moments incorporating marine, atmosphere and astronomy. To view the full day and night programme, or for more information about the photography exhibition, visit www.sea2sky.ie -ends-

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Health Research Board (HRB) has announced it is to invest €11 million to build the capacity of research leadership in hospitals through its clinician scientist programme. One of the clinician scientists chosen is Michael O’Dwyer, Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway and Consultant Haematologist, University Hospital Galway, who will head up a €1.7 million project. Professor O’Dwyer aims to increase our understanding of the white blood cell cancer called Multiple Myeloma (MM). Despite major advances in treatment, MM remains incurable, and in patients with high-risk disease, who account for up to 25% of patients, life expectancy is less than three years. MM is the second most common blood cancer in Ireland with approximately 250 new cases each year. It typically affects older individuals with two thirds of patients over 65 years of age and as the population ages the incidence and prevalence is increasing. Throughout the lifetime of this programme Professor O’Dwyer, in collaboration with NUI Galway’s and Trinity College Dublin's Professor Frank Giles, will make emerging new therapeutics from all sources available to myeloma patients in early phase clinical trials through the HRB funded Clinical Research Facilities. Ultimately however, the goal is to translate their own laboratory findings to the clinic for the benefit of patients.  “Our goal is to discover new ways to reduce the ability of the cancer cell to move to other sites within the body and identify new ways to make the cancerous cells more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs”, explains Professor O’Dwyer. “Ultimately, the laboratory findings will be applied to the clinic with the intention of improving treatment options for MM patients.” According to Enda Connolly, Chief Executive of the HRB: “The best hospitals in the world have research at their core. The HRB Clinician Scientist Awards is part of our strategic aim to develop a culture of research and innovation in the health services, both for the benefit of patients and the Irish economy.” Professor O’Dwyer will work with a network of scientific experts in NUI Galway and elsewhere around Ireland. Co-applicants on the grant are Professor Afshin Samali, Professor Lokesh Joshi and Professor Corrado Santocanale of NUI Galway, Professor Paul Browne of Trinity College Dublin and Dr Irene Ghobrial of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. Additional academic collaborators include the Myeloma Ireland Consortium and the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Arizona as well as several industry partners. The Science Bit Professor O’Dwyer and his team plan to focus on two particular aspects of multiple myeloma biology. These are the vulnerability of plasma cells to excessive protein loads causing a phenomenon known as ‘ER stress’ and the role that glycosylation plays in the interaction of myeloma cells with the bone marrow microenvironment and vasculature, allowing them to traffic or metastasize from one location to another.  Myeloma cells produce vast amounts of protein antibodies, which are assembled in the endoplasmic reticulum or ER. Excessive levels of protein are toxic, leading to ER stress and cell death.  Myeloma cells are adapted to deal with ER stress by increasing the activity of a protective pathway involving the IRE1 kinase. The presumption is that blocking this pathway should make myeloma cells more vulnerable to ER stress.  A major focus of this program is the evaluation of IRE1 inhibition as a new therapeutic option for multiple myeloma.   Professor O’Dwyer and his team believe that the sugar coating or glycosylation status of myeloma cells plays an important role in trafficking, for example influencing the interaction between adhesion molecules called selectins and their ligands on myeloma cells. In this project they aim to explore the differences in glycosylation status between myeloma cells and their normal counterparts and their functional significance. They aim to identify novel new therapeutic targets, reducing the metastatic potential of myeloma cells and overcoming drug resistance.  They are also evaluating the myeloma activity of a novel selectin inhibitor. -ends-

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Four NUI Galway students have been announced as winners of the 2012 Undergraduate Awards - an international academic awards programme that identifies top students across the globe through their innovative undergraduate research.  A further nine NUI Galway students were highly commended. Neasa O’Callaghan was announced winner of the prestigious award in the Ancient & Classical Studies category for her essay entitled “Mapping Europa from Antiquity to Present: Contrasting Images of an Abductee and Queen” whilst Isaac Burke secured a win in the Mathematical & Physical Sciences for his essay “Finding a non-broken circuit basis for the Orlik-Solomon algebra of an arrangement of hyperplanes“.  Joining them as winners were Cathal Kelly in the Engineering & Mechanical Sciences category with his essay“Phosphorous Removal From Wastewater Using Pyrrhotite” and Marek Bohacek for his essay on “Process timing and its relations to the perception of tonal harmony: an EEG study” which bagged him an award in the Psychology category. Panels of international academics assessed the 2890 coursework entries that were received from students attending third level institutions across Ireland, the USA, UK and Canada, and selected two winners per academic category. Congratulating the students, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: "The success of these talented students highlights the quality of study which our undergraduate students are engaged in.  Their success in these Awards will undoubtedly add lustre to their academic development, as well as underscore NUI Galway’s increasing profile as a centre of world-class research and teaching".  He continued by wishing them continued success in their academic endeavours. The four winning NUI Galway students, along with the 35 other UA winners, will be brought to Dublin for the UA Summit, “a Davos for students”, from 7-10 November.  “This conference will serve as a three-day pop-up incubation centre for some of the world’s most exceptional young minds” said Louise Hodgson, UA Programme Director. “>From hands-on workshops and talks with inspiring young achievers, entrepreneurs and academics to networking events with top graduate recruiters, the UA Summit is going to be one of the most exciting student-focused events in Europe.” As part of the UA Summit, President Michael D. Higgins, patron of the Undergraduate Awards, will award the 39 winners at the Undergraduate Awards Ceremony at Royal Hospital Kilmainham on 9 November for excellence and innovation within coursework at undergraduate level. The UA Summit will also include the Forum on Higher Education that will bring together edupreneurs and pioneers in the field of education to discuss disruptive education.  Speakers include CEO of the Wolfram Group and world famous TEDster, Conrad Wolfram.  For further information on the UA Summit and the results of the 2012 Undergraduate Awards, please see www.undergraduateawards.com. ENDS

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

NUI Galway is delighted to announce that in a joint initiative Cancer Care West and the Galway University Foundation have donated €1 million to provide fully funded scholarships for ten PhD students. Three of the scholars started at the University this week. Applications will be invited for the remaining scholarships shortly.  The Cancer Care West Hardiman scholars will perform translational and clinical research in the area of Cancer Biology, Therapeutics and all aspects of oncology at NUI Galway and the associated University Hospital Galway.  Chairman of Cancer Care West John McNamara said: “Cancer Care West is delighted to partner with Galway University Foundation to create a research fund of €1million which will support high calibre PhD students at NUI Galway. As a west of Ireland charity we recognise the need to support the important medical research taking place at the NUI Galway. Cancer Care West would like to congratulate all the successful candidates and wish them well in their respective studies.” Dean of Graduate Studies at NUI Galway Dr Lucy Byrnes said: “NUI Galway is greatly appreciative of the support of Cancer Care West and the Galway University Foundation for the Hardiman Research Scholarships. The Hardiman scheme is an excellent example of how funding contributions can support our PhD students to conduct important relevant research.” The prestigious Hardiman Research Scholarship scheme was first launched in NUI Galway in 2011 to support outstanding PhD students whose research focuses on the five key areas of research in which the University offers leading expertise. 32 Hardiman scholars started their PhDs in 2011 and 24 PhD students will be funded through the Hardiman 2012 Scholarship scheme.  The Hardiman Research Scholarships offer opportunities for suitably qualified individuals to pursue a structured postgraduate degree by research. Structured PhD programmes, while retaining the focus on the advancement of knowledge through original research of traditional programmes, also provide professional development modules in subject-specific and transferable skills. Named in honour of James Hardiman, who was appointed the University’s first Librarian in 1849, the scholarship programme aims to produce highly focused PhD graduates from a pool of national and international candidates. NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “Our primary strategic aim is to attract the best students to NUI Galway and to support their development as innovative individuals who will contribute globally to economic, cultural and social development. The alignment of the scholarships to particular areas of research reflects our University’s growing international reputation in these fields of enquiry.” -ends-

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

In the year of its 50th anniversary, the NUIG/GMIT Sub-Aqua Club officially launched its new Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), Alice Perry, at a special ceremony in NUI Galway recently. Launched by NUI Galway’s Vice-President for the Student Experience, Dr Pat Morgan, the RIB was blessed by the University’s Chaplain, Fr Diarmuid Hogan. In 2009 work began on raising funds to purchase a new offshore class RIB for the Club to allow greater access to some of the fantastic offshore dive sites that lie around Ireland. In late 2011, the NUI Galway Students Project Fund granted the remaining funds required. The new 6.5m XS-650 RIB is named after NUI Galway graduate Alice Perry, who graduated with a first class honours degree in Civil Engineering in 1906. Alice was the first female to graduate with an engineering degree in Ireland or the UK. She went on to hold the position of County Surveyor for Galway, where her work included the inspection of Galway’s piers, before later moving to London and eventually Boston. Speaking at the launch, Martin Timoney of the NUIG/GMIT Sub-Aqua Club said: “I thank all those who helped in procuring the Clubs new RIB; from attaining the required funds, through the NUI Galway Students Project Fund, to the deriving the final specification for the RIB to is final delivery in late June. It has taken a lot of time and effort but the new RIB, Alice Perry will allow access to some fantastic dive sites for the club.” Annual events for the NUIG/GMIT Sub-Aqua Club include a Charity Fundraiser Dive with all the proceeds donated to local charities and groups involved in water safety where divers from the Club cumulatively spend 30 hours in the 3.5m deep tank in one hour time slots. This year over €1,600 was raised for the Galway RNLI Station and the Search and Recovery Unit of the Galway Sub Aqua Club. The Club also provides safety boat cover at a number of events, including Tri the Burren Triathlon and the Cope Triathlon, and this year the Volvo Ocean Race finale. Working with Galway Sub-Aqua Club, the Club provided safety boat cover in Galway Bay for each of the inshore practice and race days, as well as within the docks in the evenings. The Club dives locally on a regular basis to such sites as Coral Beach, Bóthar Buí and Killary Fjord. Larger weekend trips also take place to dive sites all along the west coast, from Donegal to Cork. The Club is open to all current students, alumni or staff of NUI Galway or GMIT and training starts each year in September. For further information on the NUIG/GMIT Sub-Aqua Club, or to join, visit website www.galwaydiving.com. To celebrate its 50th Anniversary the NUIG/GMIT Sub-Aqua Club are hosting a black tie gala ball in the Galway Bay Hotel on Saturday, 27 October. To find out more, or to purchase tickets for the ball visit www.galwaydiving.com. -ENDS-

Monday, 24 September 2012

NUI Galway will hold their annual Open Days on Friday, 5 October and Saturday, 6 October. The Open Days will provide an opportunity for prospective students to talk to NUI Galway students and staff, explore the campus and its facilities, and find out more about courses of interest. Friday's Open Day, on 5 October, will run from 9am to 3pm and is aimed at school groups, although individuals are also welcome to attend. Running from 10am to 3pm, Saturday's Open Day on 6 October is for students thinking about university and their parents and families. The Open Days are expected to attract some 8,000 visitors and are tailored towards Leaving Certificate and mature students who are interested in studying at NUI Galway. Parents, guardians and teachers are also invited on campus to sample life at university. With over 60 degree programmes on offer at NUI Galway, lecturers and students will be on hand at more than 80 exhibition stands to answer questions on courses, CAO points, employability, and career progression routes. Many of the newer courses at the University have been designed to be responsive to the changing needs of the employment market and meet the needs of the Smart Economy. A talk specifically for parents, ‘Parents’ Guide to University’ on Saturday, will give an introduction to university life and information on issues such as fees, funding, accommodation, as well as looking ahead to the job markets. The Open Days will feature a mix of taster sessions and short lectures to provide a feel for university life. Events will include hands-on science workshops, interactive demonstrations with cameras, media equipment and podcasts, an expert panel to talk about jobs for Arts students, and interactive sessions with IT systems and robotics. Commenting on the importance of the NUI Galway Open Days, Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications, says: "Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions a student will ever make. Parents play a key role in supporting students as they take this important next step. Open Day is the perfect opportunity for parents to ensure they have access to all of the information they need to support sons and daughters through their university career. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, check out the facilities and decide for yourself whether NUI Galway feels right for you." During the Open Days, tours of the campus will allow prospective students to visit the Engineering Building, the largest of its kind in Ireland; state-of the-art sports complex and gym, home to 45 student sports clubs; and Áras na Mac Léinn, the base for over 100 student societies. Tours of the University library and student accommodation will also be available to visitors on the day. For further details on NUI Galway Open Days, or to view the full programme, visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/opendays/. -ENDS- Laethanta Oscailte an Fhómhair in OÉ Gaillimh Beidh Lá Oscailte OÉ Gaillimh ar siúl Dé hAoine, an 5 Deireadh Fómhair agus Dé Sathairn, an 6 Deireadh Fómhair. Deis atá sna Laethanta Oscailte do dhaoine ar spéis leo freastal ar OÉ Gaillimh amach anseo labhairt le mic léinn agus foireann OÉ Gaillimh, seal a chaitheamh ag siúl thart ar an gcampas agus na háiseanna breátha ar fad a fheiceáil agus níos mó eolais a fháil faoi chúrsaí. Dírithe ar ghrúpaí scoile atá an Lá Oscailte a bheidh ar siúl idir 9am agus 3pm Dé hAoine, an 5 Deireadh Fómhair, cé go mbeidh fáilte roimh dhuine ar bith cuairt a thabhairt ar an Ollscoil an lá sin chomh maith. Is do mhic léinn atá ag smaoineamh ar aghaidh a thabhairt ar an Ollscoil, dá dtuismitheoirí agus dá dteaghlach an Lá Oscailte, a bheidh ar siúl idir 10am agus 3pm Dé Sathairn, an 6 Deireadh Fómhair. Táimid ag súil go mbeidh breis is 8,000 cuairteoir ag triall ar an Ollscoil an dá lá seo a bhfuil sé mar aidhm leo aird mic léinn Ardteistiméireachta agus mic léinn lánfhásta araon a tharraingt ar OÉ Gaillimh. Tá míle fáilte roimh thuismitheoirí, roimh chaomhnóirí agus roimh mhúinteoirí cuairt a thabhairt ar an gcampas freisin. Tá breis is 60 clár céime á reáchtáil in OÉ Gaillimh anois, agus beidh léachtóirí agus mic léinn ag breis is 80 seastán agus iad ar bís le ceisteanna faoi chúrsaí éagsúla, faoi phointí CAO, faoi dheiseanna fostaíochta agus faoi ghairmeacha beatha a fhreagairt. Is é atá mar aidhm le go leor de na cúrsaí atá bunaithe san Ollscoil le blianta beaga anuas a chinntiú go mbeidh na céimithe in ann poist a fháil dóibh féin agus go mbeidh siad breá ábalta dlús a chur faoi fhorbairt an Gheilleagair Ghlic amach anseo. Beidh caint dírithe ar thuismitheoirí  ‘Parents’ Guide to University’ ar siúl Dé Sathairn, chun eolas a thabhairt do thuismitheoirí faoi shaol na hOllscoile agus eolas a thabhairt faoi tháillí, maoiniú, lóistín agus fostaíocht a fháil amach anseo. Beidh idir sheisiúin agus léachtaí gairide ar siúl i rith na Laethanta Oscailte le blaiseadh a thabhairt do chách ar an gcineál saoil a chaitheann mic léinn in OÉ Gaillimh. I measc na n-imeachtaí a bheidh ar siúl beidh ceardlanna praiticiúla eolaíochta, taispeántais idirghníomhacha le ceamaraí, ríomhairí agus podchraoltaí, painéal saineolaithe a labhróidh faoi phoist do mhic léinn sna Dána, agus seisiúin idirghníomhacha le córais IT agus le róbataic. Ag labhairt di faoi thábhacht na Laethanta Oscailte, dúirt Caroline Loughnane, an Stiúrthóir Margaíochta agus Cumarsáide in OÉ Gaillimh: “Ceann de na cinntí is tábhachtaí a dhéanfaidh mac léinn go brách an ollscoil a bhfreastalóidh sé/sí uirthi a roghnú. Tá ról tábhachtach ag tuismitheoirí tacú le mic léinn agus iad i mbun an cinneadh sin a dhéanamh. Is é an Lá Oscailte an deis is fearr do thuismitheoirí a chinntiú go bhfuil an t-eolas ar fad acu chun tacú le mac nó le hiníon ag an ollscoil. Molaimid do dhuine ar spéis leo staidéar in OÉ Gaillimh teacht chuig an Lá Oscailte, labhairt leis na léachtóirí agus leis na mic léinn reatha, eolas a fháil faoi chúrsaí, breathnú ar na háiseanna agus a fháil amach duit féin an bhfeileann OÉ Gaillimh duitse.” I rith na Laethanta Oscailte, tabharfar deis do chuairteoirí sciuird a thabhairt ar an bhFoirgneamh Innealtóireachta nua, an foirgneamh is mó dá leithéid in Éirinn; ar an ionad spóirt den scoth agus giomnáisiam, áit a mbíonn baill an 45 club spóirt atá bunaithe anseo san Ollscoil ag triall go rialta; agus ar Áras na Mac Léinn – áit a mbíonn imeachtaí ar siúl ag an mbreis agus 100 cumann atá bunaithe anseo san Ollscoil. Beidh deis ag cuairteoirí cuairt a thabhairt ar leabharlann na hOllscoile agus dul chomh fada leis na háiseanna lóistín atá ar fáil anseo ar an gcampas freisin más mian leo. Tá tuilleadh eolais maidir leis na Laethanta Oscailte agus clár iomlán le fáil ag http://www.nuigalway.ie/opendays/. -CRÍOCH-

Thursday, 20 September 2012

A new report, published today (Thursday, 20 September), provides an in-depth examination into why men from disadvantaged backgrounds in their 30s, 40s and 50s are at higher risk of suicide than the rest of society. Men from low socio-economic backgrounds living in deprived areas are ten times more likely to die by suicide than men from high socio-economic backgrounds living in the most affluent areas. The report, commissioned by Samaritans, the helpline charity, explores the reasons for suicide beyond mental health issues in this group of men and calls for suicide to be addressed as a health and social inequality. Co-authored by health economics expert NUI Galway’s Brendan Kennelly, the research, Men and Suicide: Why it’s a social issue, reveals that in the UK and Ireland: Men compare themselves against a ‘gold standard’ which prizes power, control and invincibility. When they believe they aren’t meeting this standard they feel a sense of shame, which can lead them to have suicidal thoughts. Men in mid-life are now part of the ‘buffer’ generation, not sure whether to be like their older, more traditional, strong, silent, austere fathers or like their younger, more progressive, individualistic sons. The changing nature of the labour market over the last 60 years has affected working class men. With the decline of traditional male industries, they have lost not only their jobs but also a source of masculine pride and identity. Men in mid-life remain overwhelming dependent on a female partner for emotional support. But today men are less likely to have one life-long partner and more likely to live alone, without the social or emotional skills to fall back on.  According to Suzanne Costello, Director of Samaritans in Ireland: “It has been recently recognised that men in mid-life can no longer be ignored as a group at high risk of suicide. However, this report shows that it is men from low socio-economic backgrounds who desperately need help. “Men are often criticised for being reluctant to talk about their problems and for not seeking help. With this in mind, we need to acknowledge that men are different to women and design services to meet their needs, so they can be more effective. “The role of mental health problems in suicide is well-established and must not be ignored. But we also need to look at the economic and social inequalities that contribute to people wanting to take their own lives. Policy-makers and practitioners need to take forward our recommendations from the report as a matter of urgency.” Samaritans is calling on the Government, statutory services health, and relevant NGOs to recognise the heightened risk of suicide among disadvantaged men in mid-life, treating suicide as a health and social inequality. There are six recommendations: Take on the challenge of tackling the gender and socio-economic inequalities in suicide risk. Suicide prevention policy and practice must take account of men’s beliefs, concerns and context – in particular their views of what it is to ‘be a man’. Recognise that for men in mid-life, loneliness is a very significant cause of their high risk of suicide, and help men to strengthen their social relationships. There must be explicit links between alcohol reduction and suicide prevention strategies; both must address the relationships between alcohol consumption, masculinity, deprivation and suicide. Support GPs to recognise signs of distress in men, and make sure that those from disadvantaged backgrounds have access to a range of support, not just medication alone. Provide leadership and accountability at local level, so there is action to prevent suicide.  To contact Samaritans see www.samaritans.ie or call 1850 60 90 90. -ends- For further information about the report, to set up interviews or case studies, please contact Samaritans’ press office on + 20 8394 8300 or email press@samaritans.org or Catherine Heaney, DHR Communications on 01-420 0580 / 087-2309835. Notes to editors: The suicide figures for Ireland referenced in the report are supplied by the Central Statistics Office Ireland. Male ROI suicides in 2010 = 386 deaths for all men.  Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide. People contact Samaritans when they are struggling to cope and need someone to talk to. More than 20,000 Samaritans’ volunteers are available round the clock, every day of the year. The helpline provides a safe place to talk and all conversations are private. To understand more about this group of men, Samaritans commissioned Volante Research to interview 12 men throughout the UK and Ireland aged between 35 and 55 from low socio-economic backgrounds

Thursday, 20 September 2012

NUI Galway’s Dublin Alumni Club invites alumni and friends to attend DruidMurphy Conversations on a Homecoming in the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin on Tuesday, 2 October. An Alumni Reception will take place prior to the performance at 6.30pm, followed by the play at 7.30pm. A special Alumni Rate of €32 is available to NUI Galway alumni and friends. To reserve a place for the performance visit www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends/ or contact the Alumni Office at 091 493750. If you are an NUI Galway graduate and would like to get participate in the University’s Dublin Alumni Club please contact the Alumni Office for information on how you can become involved. DruidMurphy is the story of Irish emigration; a story both of those who went and those who were left behind. Told through three plays by Tom Murphy; Conversations on a Homecoming, A Whistle in the Dark and Famine, DruidMurphy is a major celebration of one of Ireland’s most respected living dramatists. DruidMurphy covers the period from The Great Hunger of the 19th century to Ireland of the 1970s. DruidMurphy is presented in a co-production with NUI Galway, Galway Arts Festival, Quinnipiac University Connecticut and Lincoln Center Festival. -ENDS-

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The 3rd Annual Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (TERMIS) World Congress took place from 5-8 September in Vienna, Austria. Attracting over 2000 attendees, the congress has once again featured a strong display of field-leading research conducted by researchers at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), NUI Galway. NFB featured prominently at the 2012 congress where it was represented by 11 researchers. Over ten podium presentations and eight poster presentations by NFB were made over the four-day World Congress. The congress was also attended by two of NFB’s principal investigators, Dr Wenxin Wang and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis both of whom chaired a poster presentation session and symposia entitled “Gene Transfer Approaches in Tissue Engineering”, and “Tissue Engineering of Functional Tendons and Ligaments”. The travelling researchers were accompanied by NFB director, Professor Abhay Pandit who, in addition to chairing a number of sessions, was invited to deliver a keynote address. Speaking in the morning session of the final day of the congress, Professor Pandit’s lecture, entitled “Bridging the spinal cord – a step towards functionalisation”, drew on ongoing, cutting edge research into the repair of spinal cord injuries being carried out in the NFB. Two of this year’s presenting researchers, Andrew English and Dr Mangesh Kulkarni, travelled to Vienna on grants awarded by the TERMIS Student and Young Investigator Section (SYIS). TERMIS SYIS seeks to promote the scientific and professional development of promising young researchers in the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine field. In addition to his travel award, Andrew English was selected by an international review board, along with four of his peers from across the globe, as a finalist in the TERMIS SYIS Young Investigators’ competition. His presentation, entitled “Preferential Tenocyte Response to Anisotropic Topography and Implications on Medical Device Design”, was judged by a committee selected from leading experts in the field. Andrew was awarded the second place in this prestigious World Congress. NFB, which was established with funding from Science Foundation Ireland 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. -ends-

Thursday, 20 September 2012

NUI Galway’s LLM in Public Law programme will host a conference on the forthcoming children’s constitutional referendum. The conference will take place on Friday, 21 September from 9.45am to 2pm at the Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. The second annual conference of the LLM in Public law will critically consider the Children’s Constitutional Referendum, which will be held on Saturday, 10 November. The referendum on the rights of the child is considered to be one of the most significant referendums in the history of the State. Marie McGonagle, Director of the LLM in Public Law at NUI Galway, said: “The choice of topic for our conference is particularly apt and timely. We are especially fortunate to have two of the country’s leading experts speaking, along with members of the NUI Galway academic staff who will present interesting perspectives based on their doctoral research.” Chairing the conference is former Supreme Court Judge Catherine McGuinness, with Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection and leading expert on child law, delivering the keynote address. Other speakers at the seminar will include: Dr Anne Egan, Family Law Lecturer at NUI Galway; Fergal Landy, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway; and Connie Healy, solicitor and child law expert. Throughout the conference, the speakers will be reflecting upon the wording of the referendum. NUI Galway also holds the holds the UNESCO Chair in Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement led by Professor Pat Dolan. More information is available at http://childandfamilyresearch.ie/unesco-programme. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Stem cell scientists have capitalised on the electrical properties of a widely used nanomaterial to develop cells which may allow the regeneration of cardiac cells. The breakthrough has been led by a team of scientists at the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at the National University of Ireland Galway in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Ireland. Once damaged by heart attack, cardiac muscle has very little capacity for self-repair and at present there are no clinical treatments available to repair damaged cardiac muscle tissue.  Over the last 10 years, there has been tremendous interest in developing a cell-based therapy to address this problem. Since the use of a patient’s own heart cells is not a viable clinical option, many researchers are working to try to find an alternative source of cells that could be used for cardiac tissue repair.  REMEDI researchers Dr Valerie Barron and Dr Mary Murphy have brought together a multi-disciplinary team of Irish materials scientists, physicists and biologists from REMEDI at National University of Ireland Galway and Trinity College Dublin to address this problem. The researchers recognised that carbon nanotubes, a widely used nanoparticle, is reactive to electrical stimulation. They then used these nanomaterials to create cells with the characteristics of cardiac progenitors, a special type of cell found in the heart, from adult stem cells. “The electrical properties of the nanomaterial triggered a response in the mesenchymal (adult) stem cells, which we sourced from human bone marrow. In effect, they became electrified, which made them morph into more cardiac-like cells”, explains Valerie Barron of REMEDI at National University of Ireland Galway. “This is a totally new approach and provides a ready-source of tailored cells, which have the potential to be used as a new clinical therapy. Excitingly, this symbiotic strategy lays the foundation stone for other electroactive tissue repair applications, and can be readily exploited for other clinically challenging areas such as in the brain and the spinal cord.” This work has recently been published in two leading scientific journals, Biomaterials and Macromolecular Bioscience, and was carried out in collaboration with Professor Werner Blau, Investigator in CRANN and the School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin (TCD). “It is great to see two decades of our pioneering nanocarbon research here at TCD come to fruition in a way that addresses a major global health problem. Hopefully many people around the world will ultimately benefit from it. Some of our carbon nanotube research has been patented by TCD and is being licensed to international companies in material science, electronics and health care,” said Professor Blau. Nanoweek 2012 is currently underway, running 14-21 September. It offers an opportune time to reflect on the type of healthcare solutions that nanomaterials can offer. Ireland is a world leader in nanoscience research, ranked 6th globally. -ends-

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

One of Ireland’s leading experts on child and family issues has welcomed the announcement of a date for the Children’s Rights Referendum, calling it a ‘historical and internationally significant step’. Based at NUI Galway, Professor Pat Dolan holds the UNESCO Chair in Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement. “There is growing recognition internationally of children as independent rights holders. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended that the State take further measures to incorporate children’s rights into the Irish constitution. Opening up debate around this issue, and asking the public to ultimately make the decision on where we place our children within our constitution, is vital”, said the Professor. A former social worker, he welcomed the commitment by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD to hold a referendum on the Rights of the Child in Ireland: “I hope that all parties approach the campaign in an open and honest way, making arguments based on evidence, and always with the best interests of children as the primary motivating concern.” Professor Dolan said: “The rights and well-being of children, parents and society are inextricably linked and complementary. What is good for children is good for their parents and ultimately to the benefit of civic society. This could be a defining moment for children and young people in Ireland. And it needs to be – the best legacy that we can leave the next generation is a commitment that their rights are protected and enhanced, that they have some certainty in an increasingly uncertain world.” As a member of the UNESCO International education network, Professor Dolan was co-author on a report on the proposed referendum earlier this year called, ‘Children’s Rights and the Family’.  The document pointed out that “incorporating a stronger commitment to children’s rights in the constitution would build a stronger culture of children’s rights in Irish society and is in keeping with the state’s international obligations”. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, will officially open the Irish segment of European Researchers Night, it was announced today. The event takes place on Friday, 28 September, across 800 venues in 320 cities. In Ireland, festivities take place in Galway and Cork, through a celebration called Sea2Sky, organised by NUI Galway. Celebrating the natural physical world from the marine, through the atmosphere to space, the free, family event will see hundreds of researchers share their work with the public. Thousands are expected to visit the Promenade Galway on the night, to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, to watch demonstrations and simulations, to exchange ideas and get to know the researchers. Sea2Sky is organised by NUI Galway, with huge support from partners the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria, and CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork. While school visits will take place throughout the day, according to the programme published today, at 3pm Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn will officially open the evening event to coincide with events starting right across Europe. Chief organiser, NUI Galway’s Dr Andrew Shearer, a lecturer in physics, says: “We are thrilled to have Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn officially opening this European-wide event. It is an exciting and important time to celebrate Ireland’s reputation and involvement in research, and our significant track record in leading European science projects.” This year, Sea2Sky is linking up with the Galway Science Forum’s exhibition about the work of CERN – Accelerating Science. This exhibition, sponsored by Boston Scientific in partnership with NUI Galway, will show how CERN’s Large Hadron Collider can help us understand fundamental questions about the origins of the universe. Last year, some 10,000 people came to the Sea2Sky event, and the plan is for an even bigger event this year, with highlights including the CERN exhibit, 3D tours of the universe and tours of the aquarium. The Galway Bay Hotel, Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria will be the three venues in Salthill Galway, with events also taking place in CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork. As part of the European Researchers Night 2012 organisers of the Sea2Sky event are asking all young photographers to submit photographs to the free competition entitled ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’. Open to students of all ages across Irish primary and post-primary schools, the aim is to encourage talented young photographers to capture unique moments incorporating Marine, Atmosphere and Astronomy. To view the full programme, or for more information, visit www.sea2sky.ie -ends-

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The latest developments in technologies for measuring and analysing cells will be discussed at NUI Galway in November at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Irish Cytometry Society. Flow cytometry is routinely used in scientific research and by healthcare practitioners, for example, in diagnosing blood cancers. The conference, now in its eighth year, is organised by the Irish Cytometry Society and is coming to Galway for the first time. As in previous years, the meeting will serve as a joint meeting for flow cytometry, high content screening, microscopy and related technologies. The two day event takes place from 6-7 November, The conference is being organised by the Irish Cytometry Committee, and the local NUI Galway organisers are Dr Siobhan Gaughan of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and Dr Shirley Hanley National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES). A flow cytometry core facility was recently established in the NCBES. The Facility Director, Professor Rhodri Ceredig and the Facility Senior Technical Officer, Dr Shirley Hanley are excited as the prospective of the upcoming conference. Speaking about the conference Dr Hanley said: “With the recent opening of our state of the art facilities here on campus, we are particularly pleased to host this event and engage with our colleagues from around the world.  Galway is a vibrant hub for academic, research and bioengineering based activities and we look forward to this conference.” The conference will be split into four sessions based around the following themes: stem cell biology; immunology and clinical cytometry; cell cycle and cell proliferation studies and advanced applications including marine, food, micro-particle and mass cytometry.  A line-up of international and Irish-based keynote speakers have been assembled as well as oral and poster presentations from selected clinical and life science researchers. Following the conference, there will be two one-day Flocyte flow cytometry training courses, Nov 8-9, at NUI Galway. For full details, registration and abstract submission visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=158  -ends-

Monday, 17 September 2012

Dr Tom Fogarty, one of the most influential cardiovascular surgeons in the US and a renowned inventor and entrepreneur, will speak at NUI Galway on Friday, 21 September. Dr Fogarty will address an audience of academics, clinicians and industry personal representatives in a ‘Meet the Expert’ session hosted by BioInnovate Ireland. Launched last year, BioInnovate Ireland is a specialist training and collaboration programme in medical device innovation, modelled on a prestigous Stanford University programme. It is envisaged that BioInnovate will act as a catalyst for enhancing innovation in medical device development within Ireland, and Friday’s event is an opportunity to hear from one of the biggest names in this space. NUI Galway’s Dr Mark Bruzzi, Programme Director of BioInnovate Ireland, commented: “Having someone of the calibre of Tom Fogarty take an interest in Ireland is a testament to the strength and future potential of med-tech innovation here.” During the past forty years, Dr Fogarty has been a founder, chairman or board member of over 30 business and research companies. He founded the Fogarty Institute for Innovation in 2007, a non-profit organisation which provides support for entrepreneurial innovators working on promising new medical therapies. Over the years he has acquired 135 surgical patents, including the ‘industry standard’ Fogarty Balloon Catheter and the widely used Aneurx Stent Graft that replaces open surgery aortic aneurysm. He is the recipient of countless awards and honours, including the Jacobson Innovation Award of the American College of Surgeons and the 2000 Lemelson-MIT prize for Invention and Innovation. Dr Fogarty was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in December 2001 The BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme is delivered by a consortium of four Higher Education Institutions which include NUI Galway, University of Limerick, Dublin City University and University College Cork. This initiative has received funding and support from Enterprise Ireland and several key medical device players including: Medtronic, Creganna-Tactx Medical, Lake Region Medical, Boston Scientific and SteriPack. The talk begins at 3.30pm, followed by a discussion and a questions and answers session. Interested parties should contact BioInnovate Ireland (info@bioinnovate.ie) to register. -ends-

Monday, 17 September 2012

In an exciting new development for the West plans have been unveiled to establish a Mary Robinson Centre in her home town of Ballina. The Centre is to be established at Mary Robinson’s birthplace in Victoria House, on the banks of the River Moy, and will include both a Visitor Centre and an academic research centre, supported by NUI Galway and focused on scholarly research and education in the fields of Human Rights and Women’s Leadership. This new initiative came about following an approach by Mayo County Council and Ballina Town Council to the Robinson family, supported by local business people, with the intention of acknowledging the many national and international achievements of the former President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Mary Robinson warmly supported the proposal and generously offered to make her complete archive available to the Centre. The proposed Visitor Centre, which is set to open to the public by the end of 2014, will provide a unique cultural tourism resource for Mayo as visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about Mary Robinson’s life and work, including her early roots in Ballina. The project will involve the refurbishment of Victoria House, a protected 19th century Georgian house, together with the construction of an Annex to the house. Parts of the house will be recreated to its original condition at the time of Mary Robinson’s birth in 1944. The property at Victoria House, which has been in the Bourke Family for generations, is being made available to the Centre by the owner, Mary’s brother Adrian Bourke, and will be leased in perpetuity. The new development will also include a research and educational study centre, supported by NUI Galway and focused on the fields of Human Rights and Women’s Leadership. Mary Robinson’s archive will be the centrepiece of the educational facility, and as academic partner to the project, NUI Galway will bring researchers and students from all over the world to Ballina to engage with the archive. NUI Galway is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of Human Rights and Gender research, and offers undergraduate degrees and Masters programmes in the area. The University will also advise on the cataloguing and making available of the extensive archive which is valued at over €2.5 million. “The people of Mayo and the West have taught me over the years the true meaning and spirit of Meitheal, and have always been hugely supportive of my journey,” said Mary Robinson. “So I am delighted to respond to this initiative to ensure that my archive benefits Ballina and future generations.” Mary Robinson’s archive is a vast collection illuminating the life and career of one of Ireland’s most distinguished public figures. The archive includes a library of books, and periodicals, Mary Robinson’s personal diaries, working files and detailed records of her career as a champion of human rights and women’s equality. Also included are numerous recordings and manuscripts from her time as President of Ireland. President Jim Browne of NUI Galway commented: “NUI Galway is delighted to be associated with this exciting development. Mary Robinson’s archive is a rich resource for scholars working in the fields of human rights and women’s leadership. Through the University’s internationally recognised Irish Centre for Human Rights and through our Global Women’s Studies Research Cluster, we will use this opportunity to draw in students from around the world to engage with this important archive.” The Mary Robinson Centre will provide a tremendous boost to the tourism economy of Mayo, Ballina, and the wider West of Ireland region. The Centre is expected to attract tourists from Ireland and abroad, members of the public, students and researchers interested in learning more about Mary Robinson’s life and work, and will contribute significantly to the local economy in the years ahead. Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Mr Cyril Burke, said: “I would like to thank the Robinson family for the very generous offer of making the complete archive of Mary Robinson available to the Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina.” Mayo County Manager, Mr Peter Hynes, added: “Mayo County Council and Ballina Town Council are delighted to be associated with the Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina. The development presents a fantastic opportunity for Mayo to create a Centre of national and international importance in Mary Robinson’s home town of Ballina.” Mayor of Ballina, Mr Willie Nolan, commented “Ballina Town Council wholeheartedly supports the plan for the Centre and acknowledges the very generous offer from the Robinson family.”  -ends-

Monday, 17 September 2012

As part of Tawasol Student Mobility Project, which brings students and academics together for intensive inter-cultural and civic engagement learning opportunities, the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway will host a study tour from Sunday, 23 September to Saturday, 6 October. During the two weeks 25 students will participate in a number of academic, community and cultural experiences. The students will meet with academic staff from the University and learn about how service learning is embedded in the curriculum. They will also have the opportunity to speak to Galway students to learn more about the impact of their experiences in community. In addition the students will work for two days in the Galway area to get first hand experiences of contemporary issues facing the community sector in Ireland. Community organisations such as COPE Galway, Galway Rape Crisis Centre, St Vincent de Paul, Deaf Hear and Jigsaw will all share their work with the students and provide real world experience to the students.  In addition the group will visit some cultural areas including the Burren and Cliffs of Moher.  This study tour is part of a three year EU funded Tempus collaboration in which CKI have played a major role in since 2009. The EU Tempus funded project includes five universities from Jordan and the Lebanon with four European university partners including NUI Galway, University of Gothenburg in Sweden, University of Plovdiv in Bulgaria and the University of Roehampton in London. Lorraine McIlrath, Coordinator and Academic Staff Developer with CKI at NUI Galway, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for the students to get involved with local communities. We also anticipate that about ten NUI Galway students will also participate and engage with our visitors. The students are very interested in engaging with the community through service learning and volunteering.  They also will have experience of engaging with their own communities back home.  This experience is most relevant now as the Arab Spring unfolds.”  For more information on the Tawasol Project visit www.tawasol.org and on the CKI www.nuigalway.ie/cki -ENDS-   

Monday, 17 September 2012

NUI Galway’s Lero Research Centre and the Institute of Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy will hold an open forum on Agile-Lean Software Development. Lead by NUI Galway’s Dr Kieran Conboy and Ken Power of Cisco Systems, the forum will take place on Friday, 21 September from 9:30am-1pm. Software development organisations are increasingly using Agile and Lean approaches to product development in an effort to improve how they work and build stronger relationships with their customers. Many of the nuances and complexities of software development mean that while these techniques can bring value and result in significant productivity gains, there are still challenges that must be overcome. This open event is targetted at industry practitioners at all stages of their Agile and Lean adoption. The event will facilitate sharing of challenges, experiences and solutions to Agile and Lean adoption, and provides an opportunity to get practical answers to real software development problems. Dr Kieran Conboy, Senior Lecturer with the Lero Software Engineering Research Centre and the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy at NUI Galway said: “The forum will use a combination of hands-on exercises and an open format to foster communication and collaboration among participants. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss topics of interest and relevance to their own Agile and Lean adoption.” Attendance is free, but places are limited so registration is required. Companies or individuals actively involved in Agile and/or Lean software development should register your interest before Thursday, 20 September by emailing Lorraine Morgan at lorraine.morgan@nuigalway.ie or by phone at 091 492662. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Research output and academic reputation has seen NUI Galway secure the biggest boost among Irish universities in world rankings announced today. With only two Irish universities improving their world ranking, NUI Galway witnessed the greatest rise in position, increasing 11 places. NUI Galway is now ranked 287 in the QS World University Rankings 2012/2013. In the same rankings, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) leapfrogged University of Cambridge and Harvard University, to become the number one university. “This is very good news for NUI Galway,” explains its President Dr Jim Browne. “We have experienced huge cuts in overallfunding at third-level in Ireland, while student numbers have continued to rise. Despite this, our university has gone against the tide to secure a marked improvement in these very competitive rankings. This is a testament to our high standards in teaching and research, and the continued dedication of our staff at NUI Galway.” The QS World University Rankings is an annual league table of the top 700 universities in the world and is arguably the best-known and respected ranking of its kind. It is widely referenced by prospective and current students, university professionals and governments worldwide. The rankings are based on four key pillars, research, teaching, employability and internationalisation. President Browne added: “It will be critical for Ireland to maintain its investment in its universities if we are to remain internationally competitive. Every year, rankings such as this are broadened to include a burgeoning number of world-class universities. We operate in a global market, competing for students and research support on an international playing field. Support on a national level must be maintained for universities such as NUI Galway to continue with their success.” -ends- Dul Chun Cinn OÉ Gaillimh sna Ranguithe Idirnáisiúnta de bharr Aschur Taighde agus Cáil Acadúil De bharr aschur taighde agus cáil acadúil OÉ Gaillimh tá an borradh is mó tagtha faoin Ollscoil seo thar aon Ollscoil eile in Éirinn sna ranguithe domhanda a fógraíodh inniu. Ní dhearna ach dhá ollscoil in Éirinn dul chun cinn sna ranguithe domhanda, agus is í OÉ Gaillimh a rinne an dul chun cinn is mó, ag ardú 11 áit. Tá OÉ Gaillimh anois sa 287ú háit i Ranguithe Ollscoileanna Bliantúla an Domhain QS 2012/2013. Sna ranguithe céanna, chuaigh Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) chun tosaigh ar Ollscoil Cambridge agus ar Ollscoil Harvard, chun an chéad áit a bhaint amach ar domhan. “Dea-scéala iontach é seo do OÉ Gaillimh,” a mhínigh an tUachtarán, an Dr Jim Browne. “Tá gearradh siar uafásach déanta ar mhaoiniú ag an tríú leibhéal in Éirinn, agus tá líon na mac léinn ag dul i méid i gcónaí. D’ainneoin seo, tá ollscoil s’againne ag dul ó neart go neart sna ranguithe seo atá thar a bheith iomaíoch. Is léiriú é seo ar an gcaighdeán ard teagaisc agus taighde atá againn agus tiomantas leanúnach na foirne in OÉ Gaillimh.” Tábla sraithe bliantúil iad Ranguithe Ollscoileanna an Domhain QS ina bhfuil na 700 ollscoil is fearr ar domhan agus tá sé ar cheann de na ranguithe is fearr aithne agus is mó a bhfuil cáil air ar domhan. Úsáideann mic léinn reatha agus mic léinn a bhfuil suim acu in ollscoil, lucht gairmiúil ollscoileanna agus rialtais ar fud an domhain na ranguithe seo. Tá na ranguithe bunaithe ar na ceithre phríomhthaca, taighde, teagasc, infhostaitheacht agus idirnáisiúnú. Dúirt an tUachtarán Browne chomh maith: “Is den riachtanas é go gcoinneoidh Éirinn ag infheistiú sna hollscoileanna chun a bheith iomaíoch go hidirnáisiúnta. Gach bliain, leathnaítear na ranguithe chun ollscoileanna eile den scoth a ligean isteach. Táimid ag feidhmiú i margadh domhanda, san iomaíocht do mhic léinn agus do thacaíocht taighde ar pháirc idirnáisiúnta. Caithfear an tacaíocht ag leibhéal náisiúnta a choinneáil d’ollscoileanna cosúil le OÉ Gaillimh chun go mbeidh an rath céanna uirthi amach anseo.” -críoch-

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Can your mobile phone help you get fit? A former White House fitness expert will pose this question at the fifth annual Medicine 2.0 Congress which opens in Harvard Medical School, Boston, tomorrow. Ted Vickey is a PhD researcher at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at National University of Ireland Galway. He will tell delegates that “understanding one’s social network may be one key to better health”. “Rather than surfing in the ocean, we are surfing the web. Rather than an outdoor game of tennis under the sun, we are inside our homes playing online virtual tennis on our Wii. People drive their cars to the gym and then take the escalator to the front door rather than walking and taking the stairs,” explains Vickey. “But what if technology could be the solution to our problem? What if our mobile phones could track our every step, provide healthy tips during the day, even persuade or motivate us when we need it most? This dream is now a reality all across the globe and it is called Mobile Health.” There are an estimated 13,000 health related apps in the iTunes, everything from monitoring blood pressure to tweeting body weight to tracking sleep cycles. As part of his PhD research, Vickey and his colleagues at National University of Ireland Galway have collected over 4.5 million tweets sent via mobile fitness applications from around the world. These were then categorized into different classifications, in an attempt to understand correlations between online social networking and effective exercise motivation and adherence. Studies have indicated that lack of motivation is a key factor in why a person does not exercise. “Mobile fitness apps not only allow for the sharing of information between user and health care providers, but also with a user’s friends. These self-monitoring units will help change the face of health care around the globe”, said Vickey. Vickey’s paper ‘Estimating the Long Term Effectiveness of Mobile Fitness Apps and Exercise Motivation’ has been shortlisted for the iMedicalApps-Medicine 2.0 mHealth Research Award. Established in 2003 by National University Ireland Galway and Science Foundation Ireland, DERI has now grown to become the world’s largest semantic web research institute. It engages with companies, from start-ups through to multinationals, to develop new web solutions. -ends-

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

NUI Galway graduates and friends will hold their annual All-Ireland golf outing in Mullingar Golf Club on Friday, 21 September. The event features a unique perpetual trophy, created by NUI Galway graduate John Coll, one of the country’s most renowned sculptors. RTÉ Presenter, event organiser and NUI Galway graduate Seán O’Rourke, said: “The All-Ireland golf outing is an ideal way to meet up with graduates old and new. It promises to be a wonderful event and we hope as many alumni and friends as possible join us in Mullingar.” The entry fee of €40 includes green fees, prizes and dinner that evening. Bookings and further details available from NUI Galway Alumni Office on 091 493750 or online at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends -ENDS-

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

As Connacht commence their second season in the Heineken European Rugby Cup, a new and exciting rugby development at U21 level in the province this year is the amalgamation of NUI Galway U21s with Corinthians RFC U21s. The combined team will play in the U21 All-Ireland League – South West Conference – which includes the cream of Munster Rugby clubs. A working group of officials, coaches, and players from both clubs have been working closely together over the last two seasons to develop this new combined squad. The aim is to enhance the standards, competitiveness, and participation in U21 Rugby in both clubs, and thereby help to promote the game in Galway and in Connacht. The team will field wearing a newly designed jersey that combine the traditional NUI Galway maroon and white with Corinthians' black, blue, and white hoops as well as featuring both club's crests. Promising players from the combined U21s team will have access to senior AIL rugby through the Corinthians senior squad. A challenging and enjoyable pre-season build up has been planned for the new panel, which will be coached by an experienced and talented coaching team that includes Paul Donnellan and former international underage rugby coach, Bartley Fannin. The squad will also benefit from Corinthians senior coaches including former club captain and stalwart Pat Cunningham and Head Coach, Dr Phil Pretorious. As well as national coach to Tonga at the World Cup, Dr Pretorious coached Stellenbosch University for several seasons as well as ‘Super 14’ side the Blue Bulls. As the final warm-up to the competitive season, the squad will play back-to-back ‘home and away’ fixtures against Dublin’s Railway Union U21s - home in Dangan on Saturday 22nd September and away in Dublin on Saturday 29th September under Railway Union's new floodlights. Commenting on the development, Honorary Treasurer of NUI Galway RFC Gearóid Ó Broin expressed confidence in its ability to deliver on the twin objectives of increasing rugby participation and playing standards in both clubs. ENDS

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Three NUI Galway engineers were honoured recently at the Bridge and Concrete Research in Ireland conference that was held in Dublin, from 6-7 September. This biennial symposium features leading researchers and practitioners from the island of Ireland with the focus on the latest developments and findings in the areas of bridge engineering and transport infrastructure, concrete technology, geotechnics, structural engineering and material science. This year, for the first time, a number of individuals received awards for their research contributions and there was considerable success for Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. The prestigious lifetime achievement award went to Eamonn Cannon, a recently retired Senior Lecturer from NUI Galway. Eamonn Cannon received the award for his significant and sustained contributions to research and teaching in concrete that stretch back over forty years.  Holding degrees from University College Dublin, Polytecnico di Milano and Imperial College London, Eamonn Cannon has published widely on many aspects of concrete research. Dr Jamie Goggins received the young researcher award and this category was for researchers at an early stage in their careers (under the age of 35). Dr Goggins received the award for the quality of his research publications and for his growing international reputation for the research in earthquake engineering, computational mechanics, sustainable construction technologies, sustainable energy and life cycle assessment. The final award for NUI Galway went to Gerard O’Reilly for the best paper by a graduate student at the conference. Gerard works under the supervision of Dr Goggins and the title of his presentation was ‘The development of a novel self-centering concentrically braced frame system for deployment in seismically active regions’.  There was strong competition for this award with over 50 graduate student presentations at the conference. Gerard O’Reilly has recently returned from an exchange visit to the University of California. “It is noteworthy that the three awards span the spectrum from a lifetime of achievement to a graduate engineer who is starting out on his research career”, commented Dr Piaras Ó hEachteirn, Head of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. “The awards reflect well on the level and excellence of the research at NUI Galway and particularly in the area of concrete research.” ENDS

Monday, 10 September 2012

Sea2Sky returns again The whole of Europe will be captivated by science on Friday, 28 September, as 320 cities celebrate European Researchers’ Night. Festivities in Ireland this year will be once again led by NUI Galway, with events planned throughout the day to showcase science on the grandest of scales. The free, fun, family event will see hundreds of researchers share their work with the public. Thousands are expected to visit the Promenade in Salthill, Galway on the night, to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, to watch demonstrations and simulations, to exchange ideas and get to know the researchers. After a very successful event in 2011, NUI Galway again participate under the theme Sea2Sky, with partners the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria, along with a new partner, CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork. The event will be themed around marine science, atmospherics and astronomy. “Interest in science is riding high and making headlines around the world. We have been captivated by news from the Large Hadron Collier in Geneva, images from NASA's mission on Mars, and video from the journey to the deepest point of the ocean by Hollywood’s James Cameron,” explains lecturer in physics and organiser of the event, NUI Galway’s Dr Andy Shearer. This year, Sea2Sky is linking up with the Galway Science Forum’s exhibition about the work of CERN – Accelerating Science. This exhibition, sponsored by Boston Scientific in partnership with NUI Galway, will show how CERN’s Large Hadron Collider can help us understand fundamental questions about the origins of the universe. Last year, some 10,000 people came to the event, and the plan is for an even bigger event this year, with highlights including the CERN exhibit, 3D tours of the universe and tours of the aquarium. The Galway Bay Hotel, Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria will be the three venues in Salthill Galway, with events also taking place in CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork. “Irish researchers are involved in some huge European research projects, and this is an opportunity to share some of the most exciting elements with the public”, added Dr Shearer. “At third-level, we have seen a surge in applications for science related courses and this event will be a real draw for anyone tempted by a career in science and research.” -ends- Gaillimh i gCeannas ar Ócáid Taighde na hEorpa in Éirinn Beidh an Eoraip ar fad faoi dhraíocht ag an eolaíocht an 28 Meán Fómhair, nuair a bheidh 320 cathair ag ceiliúradh Oíche Eorpach na dTaighdeoirí. Beidh OÉ Gaillimh i gceannas ar imeachtaí na hÉireann arís i mbliana agus tá imeachtaí eagraithe i rith an lae chun ardán ar scála ollmhór a thabhairt don eolaíocht. Ócáid shaor in aisce agus spraíúil don teaghlach a bheidh ann ina roinnfidh na céadta taighdeoirí a gcuid oibre leis an bpobal. Táthar ag súil go dtabharfaidh na mílte cuairt ar an bPromanád i mBóthar na Trá, Gaillimh ar an oíche chun páirt a ghlacadh i dturgnaimh, i gcomórtais agus i dtráth na gceisteanna, taispeántais agus cleachtaí a fheiceáil, smaointe a mhalartú agus aithne a chur ar na taighdeoirí. D’éirigh thar barr leis an ócáid in 2011, agus beidh an téama céanna ag OÉ Gaillimh arís i mbliana, Sea2Sky, i gcomhpháirt le Foras na Mara agus Atlantaquaria na Gaillimhe, mar aon le comhpháirtí nua i mbliana, Réadlann Chaisleán na Dúcharraige CIT i gCorcaigh. Beidh an ócáid dírithe ar réimse na mara, an aerthormáin agus na réalteolaíochta. “Tá borradh ag teacht faoin tsuim san eolaíocht agus í ar thús cadhnaíochta ar fud an domhain. Táimid faoi dhraíocht ag an scéala ón Imbhuailteoir Mór Hadróinarge  sa Ghinéiv, ag íomhánna ó mhisean NASA ar Mhars, agus ag físeán ón turas chuig an bpointe is ísle faoin bhfarraige a thug James Cameron as Hollywood,” a mhíníonn léachtóir amháin le fisic agus duine de lucht eagraithe na hócáide, an Dr Andy Shearer in OÉ Gaillimh. I mbliana, beidh Sea2Sky i gcomhpháirtíocht le taispeántas Fhóram Eolaíochta na Gaillimhe maidir le hobair CERN – Accelerating Science. Léireoidh an taispeántas seo, atá urraithe ag Boston Scientific i gcomhar le OÉ Gaillimh, an chaoi a bhféadfadh Imbhuailteoir Mór Hadróinarge CERN cuidiú linn tuiscint a fháil ar na buncheisteanna faoi bhunús na cruinne. Anuraidh, d’fhreastail thart ar 10,000 duine ar an ócáid, agus táthar ag súil le níos mó ná sin i mbliana, idir taispeántas CERN, turais 3D na cruinne agus turais den uisceadán. Is in Óstán Chuan na Gaillimhe, Leisureland agus Atlantaquaria na Gaillimhe a bheidh na himeachtaí ar siúl i mBóthar na Trá agus beidh imeachtaí eile ar siúl i Réadlann Chaisleán na Dúcharraige, CIT i gCorcaigh. “Tá taighdeoirí Éireannacha bainteach le tograí móra taighde san Eoraip agus deis í seo le cuid den eolas is suimiúla a roinnt leis an bpobal”, a deir an Dr Shearer. “Ag an tríú leibhéal, tá borradh tagtha faoi iarratais ar chúrsaí eolaíochta agus meallfaidh an ócáid seo duine ar bith a bhfuil suim acu i ngairm na heolaíochta agus na taighde”. -críoch-