New Technologies Make Online Communities Happier

New Technologies Make Online Communities Happier-image

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

NUI Galway Researchers part of ROBUST, an EU project to capture business community relationships Online communities and enterprise social networks help employees and customers connect and collaborate. They allow employees and customers to talk about their experiences and find answers to questions about company products and services.  Ensuring the success of such online communities is a crucial problem for companies. How can a company make sure that the needs of hundreds of thousands or even millions of members are satisfied? The EU project ROBUST provides novel analytical tools that uncover the parts of a community that are successful and the areas that exhibit problems. To achieve this, ROBUST investigated the objectives of users in business communities and how these users interact with each other. For example, users often know exactly the information that they are looking for. If they repeatedly cannot find this information, they will reduce their activity, will collaborate less with others and eventually leave the community. The project offers a dedicated website to demonstrate, with example applications and videos, how ROBUST technologies can identify dissatisfied users and how different strategies can be applied to determine trends within communities Using a novel visualisation metaphor, ROBUST presents the opinions of users on company-relevant topics as an aquarium. A bad atmosphere in the social network, which means that many negative statements are encountered, is visualised by turbid water and many cavorting sharks. Clicking on the surrounding corals reveals the topics that are being discussed in a negative or positive way. This visualisation provides an intuitive and immediate insight into the state of the community. Using a demonstrator application of ROBUST technology, the software provider SAP AG, one of the project partners, reveals insights into the SAP Community Network (SCN) – a community with more than 2 million members. The ROBUST demonstrator identifies the forums that are flourishing, those that will become unpopular and the underlying trends. Even in large networks this technology allows community managers to keep track of the situation and developments and to identify experts and influential users. More than 600,000 employees of IBM use the IBM Connections platform to exchange ideas and business-relevant information. ROBUST analyses how these business communities develop. The application identifies the branches of the company that are collaborating well and the users that play a central role in this process. Although the "ROBUST" project officially finishes on the 31st of October, its technology will continue to make many communities happier into the future. Further information is available at http://www.robust-project.eu or http://www.robust-project.eu/videos-demos. For more information contact Professor Steffen Staab at staab@uni-koblenz.de -ends-

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NUI Galway and Dalian University China Secure Funding to Examine New Sugar-Coated Antibody Drugs

NUI Galway and Dalian University China Secure Funding to Examine New Sugar-Coated Antibody Drugs-image

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Award is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NFSC) Drugs with an increased lifetime in the circulation and improved activity for a broad range of medical conditions are the goal of a strategic new funding award to researchers at NUI Galway and Dalian University in China. Dr Gerard Wall, based in Microbiology and the Network for Excellence in Functional Biomaterials (NFB), a Science Foundation Ireland funded strategic research cluster, and Dr Xuejun Hu, of the Dalian University Medical School, will coordinate the prestigious grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). The award will fund a four-year research programme, beginning in January 2014, to investigate the expression of glycosylated antibody fragments in E. coli and study the effects of engineering the attached sugar components on their therapeutic potential. Antibodies are naturally occurring proteins that are produced by the immune system to protect against pathogens and other foreign substances in the body. Due to their high specificity and strength of binding to their targets, they have enormous potential in the delivery of cytotoxic drugs to cells such as cancer cells, or in targeting of regenerative therapeutics to particular tissues or cells. The focus of the present funding will be to develop improved antibody fragments, expressed in Escherichia coli, with increased stabilities and improved efficacies in vivo through the attachment and manipulation of glycan (sugar) molecules. Attached glycans are known to affect the physicochemical and pharmacological properties of protein-based drugs in the circulation and glycoengineering can be used to tailor drugs to meet specific delivery needs. The work will also have application in immunodiagnostics and monitoring fields. Welcoming the funding announcement, Dr Gerard Wall said “This support will enable us to develop improved, longer-lived biopharmaceuticals using cutting edge protein engineering approaches. The work will complement established research strengths at NUI Galway in biomaterials, drug delivery and glycobiology. The award also establishes an important strategic link between biosciences research at NUI Galway and a major Chinese University and Medical School.” The NSFC funds a combination of basic and applied biological research focusing on research promotion, talent fostering and infrastructure construction for basic research. It provides dedicated support structures for fundamental research, individual awards and infrastructure and has an annual budget in excess of 10 billion RMB (€1.2 billion). Drs Wall and Hu were previously awarded funding from the NSFC in 2010 to establish a research team and carry out pilot work on the current project. The present funding will allow their joint research programme to be significantly expanded and will also see continued, reciprocal research exchanges between the Chinese and Irish laboratories. -Ends-

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September 2013

NUI Galway Students and Alumni Among All-Ireland Senior Hurling Finalists

NUI Galway Students and Alumni Among All-Ireland Senior Hurling Finalists -image

Monday, 2 September 2013

NUI Galway will have twelve current and former students making up a significant contingent of the Clare Senior hurling panel for this Sunday’s (September 8) All-Ireland Final against Cork. NUI Galway students and alumni representing the Banner County are Pat Kelly, Domhnall O’Donovan, Cian Dillon, John Conlon, Colin Ryan, Conor McGrath, Liam Markham, Aaron Cunningham, Fergal Lynch, Donal Touhy, Colm Galvin and Seadna Morey. In the hurling quarter-finals, Clare proved too strong for a Galway side, which included current NUI Galway students Joseph Cooney and Niall Burke, whilst the semi-final success over Limerick guaranteed Clare their place in the final. Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted that our students continue to excel, both on and off the field of play, and we wish them the best in their quest to bring the McCarthy Cup back to Clare.” -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Engineering Lecturer joins Board of Directors for the American Council on Exercise

NUI Galway Engineering Lecturer joins Board of Directors for the American Council on Exercise-image

Monday, 2 September 2013

Dr Breslin brings combination of technology expertise and education experience The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has announced that NUI Galway’s Dr John Breslin, a lecturer in Engineering and Informatics at the University and co-founder of boards.ie, has been appointed to their board of directors for a three-year period. ACE is the largest non-profit fitness certification, education and training organisation in the world, with over 50,000 certified professionals. ACE-certified personal trainers and group fitness instructors are now practising in more than 110 countries worldwide. The organisation recently became the first US-based fitness certification provider to earn approval by the European Health & Fitness Association (EHFA) Standards Council, allowing fitness professionals with ACE certifications to join the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS). In 2010, NUI Galway became the first university outside North America to form a University Course Curriculum partnership with the American Council on Exercise. At NUI Galway, Dr Breslin teaches courses to undergraduate electrical, computer, sports and exercise students, and has worked with ACE on sponsored postgraduate research to examine the relationship between mobile social fitness reporting and exercise adherence. “Personal fitness and fitness training are being increasingly impacted upon by emerging technologies in social media and mobile devices,” says Dr Breslin. “The surge in usage of social media and shared experiences has led many to share details of their daily exercise routines through social networks. These updates are mainly communicated through the proliferation of mobile devices we now carry about our persons daily.” “The same mobile devices used by those measuring their fitness levels can also be used as advanced education delivery platforms for training instructors and fitness professionals,” says Dr Breslin. “ACE is a very forward-looking organisation, always mindful of emerging trends in technology and education, and I will be doing my best to help keep them abreast of current developments based on my technology expertise and education experiences.” “I am honoured and delighted to join the all-star board of directors at ACE, each member having expertise and success in differing domains ranging from government and business to fitness and health.” -- ENDS –    

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Defibme.ie ‘GolfCycle’ Prize Winners Announced

Defibme.ie ‘GolfCycle’ Prize Winners Announced -image

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The ‘GolfCycle’ undertaken by NUI Galway MA in Digital Media student and former Irish International golfer, Joe Lyons and John McGuire of the Technology Transfer Office at the University, launched the defibme.ie campaign this summer.  The duo cycled from Galway Golf Club to the Irish Open in Mullingar, playing 18 holes across 9 golf courses along the way. The event raised awareness of the University-backed initiative to build smartphone applications to locate your nearest defibrillator while also raising funds for the Irish Heart Foundation. Golf club members across the country also had the opportunity to win some great prizes provided by Revive Active and the Carlton Shearwater Hotel, by taking part in their own club’s weekly medal. The draw for the prizes took place recently at a ceremony in NUI Galway. The results are as follows: First Prize: Mullingar Golf Club Mullingar Golf Club won a weekend trip for four to Oceanico's Amendeoira Golf Resort in the Algarve, sponsored by Revive Active. Second Prize: Galway Golf Club Galway Golf Club won a weekend break for four at the Carlton Shearwater Hotel. Third Prize: Dara Kirwin Dara Kirwin was the winners of the spa day for four in the Carlton Shearwater Spa. Joe Lyons said: “Revive Active and the Carlton Shearwater sponsorship have had a very positive effect on the defibme.ie campaign. Smartphone applications are almost complete and will be available in September. We are continuing to build a list of defibrillator locations to assist the public in times of crises. Without the support of sponsors it would be extremely difficult to do this.” ‘GolfCycle’ was the first in a series of initiatives aimed at encouraging organisations to register defibrillators and highlighting the resource to the general public. Upcoming events will continue to encourage the crowdsourcing of information. The defibme.ie campaign is dependant on crowdsourcing information to build a comprehensive registry. For more information on defibme.ie visit www.defibme.ie. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway and Connacht Rugby announce high performance partnership

NUI Galway and Connacht Rugby announce high performance partnership -image

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Partnership launched by NUI Galway alumnus and former Lions, Ireland and Connacht captain Ciaran Fitzgerald 2013 NUI Galway and Connacht Rugby have announced a comprehensive partnership to further develop the sporting, academic, research and educational links between the two. The partnership aims to nurture the next generation of sports performers and scholars. The partnership will see NUI Galway support the Connacht Rugby Academy and the Connacht Rugby Age Grade Representative teams. A key aspect of the partnership is the offer of structured third level education to elite players. This structured education will also involve a mentoring and development programme. Speaking at the launch, NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said that the aim is ‘to provide professional players with the opportunity to combine third level study with a professional rugby career which will provide a powerful incentive for talented young players to come to Connacht and NUI Galway.” Connacht Head of Commercial and Marketing, Alex Saul said “We are delighted to welcome NUI Galway on board to support our Academy and Age Grade Programmes. NUI Galway are the perfect partner to have on board to ensure that our development pathway continues to flourish, whilst also opening the door to further commercial, educational and research opportunities. CEO of Connacht Rugby, Tom Sears said ‘Our new partnership with NUI Galway will enable Connacht Rugby to further enhance our holistic approach to elite player development. We have always sought to develop our players in every aspect of their lives, on and off the pitch, to ensure they reach their full potential and this link will provide tremendous opportunities for them. We fully intend to explore all the exciting opportunities of working closely with NUI Galway and see this new partnership as fundamental to our future development in many areas.’ Connacht players and NUI Galway brand ambassadors Robbie Henshaw, Eoin McKeon, Conor Finn and Rory Maloney will be taking an active part in the NUI Galway schools liaison programme, visiting schools and talking to students about the potential to balance elite sport with third level education but also the broader benefits of both an active mind and an active body. Ciaran Fitzgerald, former Connacht, Ireland and Lions captain, launching the partnership, said that the initiative is a wonderful opportunity for young people both inside and outside the province of Connacht to benefit from the combination of two schools of excellence. Today marks the beginning of a broader partnership that will extend beyond school visits, structured education for elite players and underage team support to world class research in areas like psychology, nutrition and performance excellence. The aim is to address challenges facing elite athletes in the professional game and enable leading researchers to address those challenges in rugby played at the highest level. -ends-  

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NUI Galway Celebrate Irish Identity as part of Culture Night 2013

NUI Galway Celebrate Irish Identity as part of Culture Night 2013-image

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

As part of Culture Night 2013, which takes place on Friday, 20 September, 6pm, the Archives and Special Collections Service at NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library will stage a special evening talk on the connection between The Gathering of 2013 and the original celebration of Irish culture and identity and engagement with Irish diaspora worldwide – the Tóstal events of the 1950s. An Tóstal, first staged in 1953, was a showcase for Irishness, Irish culture and identity. Its events were steeped in spiritual, mythological and national symbolism. It was initiated as a means of attracting visitors and the Irish diaspora to Ireland during the Easter period, as well as giving a platform to Irish culture in a new fledgling Republic. Author, Felicity Hayes-McCoy is the special guest speaker for this Culture Night event, and has been writing specifically on The Gathering and on Irish culture at home and abroad. Felicity is the daughter of Professor Gerard Anthony Hayes-McCoy, former Chair of History at NUI Galway and an advisor and script-writer for the Tóstals of the 1950's. As part of this Culture Night event, there will be a special showcase of digitised archival material from the Hayes-McCoy archive, which is held at the James Hardiman Library. John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway comments: “We are delighted once again to take the opportunity offered by Culture Night to engage the public with our archives and in particular to host such a distinguished speaker as Felicity Hayes-McCoy. This event will be a unique opportunity to explore the tradition of Irish culture, its imagery, symbolism and connection to the world, as well as the past connection of NUI Galway to this staging of Ireland, through the Hayes-McCoy archive.” Felicity Hayes-McCoy said: “As a writer with a lifelong interest in mythology and folklore, I am drawn to the imagery, symbolism and ritual invoked in these festivals. And because I come from a background of theatre and broadcast, I am fascinated by the differences and similarities between An Tóstal and The Gathering – not just in terms of the messages they chose to send out, but by the collaborative, and sometimes contentious, process of conceiving and conveying them.” The event will take place in the new Arts, Humanities and Social Science Research Building, adjacent to the James Hardiman Library, with doors opening at 5.30pm. The event is free but booking is essential. For further information, contact barry.houlihan@nuigalway.ie, aisling.keane@nuigalway.ie or phone 091 493476. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Welcomes Over 100 Brazilian Students

NUI Galway Welcomes Over 100 Brazilian Students -image

Friday, 6 September 2013

More internationals students are enrolled in NUI Galway than any other Irish University NUI Galway welcomed the Brazilian Deputy Ambassador, Minister-Counselor, Chief of Chancery,  Elza Moreira Marcelino de Castro, and over 100 Brazilian students to its campus today. This welcoming reception coinsides with Brazil's National Independence Day, which takes place tomorrow (Saturday, 7 September). To date, 140 students from 69 universities throughout Brazil have been accepted by NUI Galway to study a range of modules from Anatomy to Zoology, and from Artificial Intelligence to Tissue Engineering. NUI Galway, with the highest number of international students in an Irish university, has been central to Ireland’s participation in Brazil’s Science without Borders (Ciência sem Fronteiras). Science without Borders directly funds 75,000 scholarships and a further 26,000 are being funded by the private sector. The programme seeks to add to students’ knowledge of science and technology and improve innovation and competitiveness through international mobility of undergraduate and graduate students and researchers. Dr Brian Hughes, Dean of International Affairs at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has proven to be the university of choice in Ireland for Brazilian students. 140 students from Brazil are travelling to university in Galway under the CAPES grant programme, and we would hope that following the forthcoming funding round our Brazilian family will grow and grow!” Figures released by the Higher Education Authority show that NUI Galway has over 2,000 International students enrolled on a broad portfolio of courses, arts, business, public policy and law, science, engineering, medicine and health sciences. The students come from over 104 different countries, all continents, with international students making up 16% of the overall student population, and 27% of the University’s PhD students. The University has over 200 student exchange agreements with universities around the world. For more information visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/international-students/yourcountry/brazil/ -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Ryan Institute to explain and explore Ireland’s Renewable Energy Potential

NUI Galway Ryan Institute to explain and explore Ireland’s Renewable Energy Potential-image

Monday, 9 September 2013

Renewable energy tours to boost awareness and eco-tourism along the west coast NUI Galway Ryan Institute is to merge tourism, technology and geography to allow interested parties to witness first hand Ireland’s renewable energy potential. The eco-tour trails, supported by the EU, will offer an insight into the latest renewable energy research against the backdrop of Ireland’s world famous western coast. The tours will provide renewable energy demonstrations and training in new energy technologies, and will bring economic and educational benefits across the region to investors, local authorities, researchers, policy makers, students and the general public. Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute and project leader says “the renewable energy tours will provide an opportunity for local stakeholders to learn about the technology and best practice within the renewable energy sector, which can increase understanding of the technology and potential for rural communities”.  Dr Annette Harte, senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering added that not only will the renewable energy tours create jobs along the western seaboard but, she said, “will help to build expertise and promote the development of a renewable energy network across rural areas that will be sustainable beyond the project activities”. The Ryan Institute was awarded €127,000 from the EU for the REMOTE project (Renewable Energy Training and Demonstration Network for Remote Communities across the Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) area). Serena Silke has been appointed to manage the project among the five European partners. Brigit’s Garden in Roscahill, Co. Galway and the BMW Assembly are also on board ensuring the integration of the tourism and technology activities into the educational and industrial sectors along the Western region. The project secured a total of €850,000 across the partnership in Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Ireland. The NPP areas of Ireland include Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Clare, Limerick, Cork and Kerry. The project’s aim is to increase and support local capacities in renewable energy solutions across the peripheral and remote communities on the northern margins of Europe and to develop their economic, social and environmental potential. -ENDS-  

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Free Blood Pressure Checks for People with Sleep Problems

Free Blood Pressure Checks for People with Sleep Problems -image

Monday, 9 September 2013

The HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway, in association with the Heart and Stroke Charity Croí, are inviting members of the public who have sleep problems to avail of free blood pressure checks on Monday, 16 September from 2-7pm at the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre, Moyola Lane, Newcastle, Galway. This initiative is part of ongoing research into reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke, and is specially targeting people with sleep problems, such as difficulty getting to sleep, waking during the night, or people for who sleep disturbance is impacting on their daily lives. Recent sleep-related research has shown that poor sleep can increase the risk of high blood pressure and obesity, which are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. It is well known that a good night’s sleep is essential for good health. However, with the challenges and pressures of modern life and demanding lifestyles, more and more people are experiencing poor sleep patterns. If these sleep deficits are linked to high blood pressure, it has important implications for the prevention of longer term chronic illnesses such as heart disease. People attending the blood pressure check may be suitable to be included in the research study. Nurses from the Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway and the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre will be on hand to carry out the checks and no appointment is necessary. The event is supported by Bristol Myers Squibb. For further information, please contact Alice Power HRB Clinical Research Facility, NUI Galway, on 091 494282 or 086 0220016. -Ends-

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