Wednesday, 10 January 2018

An innovative multidisciplinary aquaculture project led by NUI Galway and Athlone Institute of Technology is set to improve production efficiencies and management of farmed fish at several inland freshwater sites. The project ‘ECOAQUA’ has received €348,781 in funding under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF), administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara, through the Knowledge Gateway Scheme, on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The output of this project will include new information, new methods, and increased awareness. It has built on capacity for, and developed new partnerships focused on, research and innovation in environment and health. The project aims to test and optimise innovative technologies and processes developed through the linked MOREFISH* project. Led by Dr Eoghan Clifford from NUI Galway and Professor Neil Rowan from Athlone Institute of Technology, with support from Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s technical aquaculture team, ECOAQUA will address critically important needs identified by industry and aquaculture stakeholders including: Analysing the environmental and energy performance of three freshwater aquaculture sites by extensive sampling and remote online monitoring of water parameters. Facilitating the re-use of the treated water, thereby reducing both the volumes of extracted and discharged waters. Enabling the industry to meet stringent environmental regulation while increasing production in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. Piloting technological innovations with industry to ensure the research is easily and rapidly transferrable to the aquaculture sector. Ensuring technological innovations and research results can be leveraged to enable the sustainable growth of this high-potential sector. Enable the industry to leverage the scientific outputs from the project to communicate with government, policymakers and regulators and the public. Dr Eoghan Clifford from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Aquaculture is recognised to have the potential to address food security concerns in many countries and offer significant economic benefits. Ireland currently ranks as fifth in value and seventh in volume in terms of high value fish species with exports supporting approximately 2,000 jobs. However, the sector in Ireland has remained relatively stagnant and has significant potential to grow, develop export markets and create employment in rural areas. These developments are strongly aligned with Ireland’s FoodWise2025 policy that seeks to grow food exports by 85% to €19 billion by 2025. This research has the potential to introduce innovative monitoring practices, technologies that can enhance the value and sustainability of Irish and European fish stock densities while ensuring the environmental sustainability of the sector.” Professor Neil Rowan from Athlone Institute of Technology, said: “This exciting cross-cutting project leverages on a critical mass of engineering and scientific expertise, industry stakeholders, policy-makers, commercial operators and international experts established through the MOREFISH platform to respond directly to pressing environmental issues that were informed by industry. ECOAQUA will model and profile the global performance (focusing on algal, microbial and energy) of pilot freshwater aquaculture farms, which will ensure that high potential interventions are easily transferable to the industry sector ensuring the intensive sustainability and viability of this industry.” Mr Alan Kennedy, ECOAQUA project manager at NUI Galway, said: “This timely project will improve the water quality of freshwater farms through the incorporation of water treatment technologies and energy reduction interventions into existing flow through farms that will also enable seamless transitions to next-generation production formats.” Damien Toner, Aquaculture Technical Specialist with Bord Iascaigh Mhara, said: “Bord Iascaigh Mhara is delighted to support this innovative and collaborative project. ECOAQUA will provide valuable research into developing improved efficiencies in fish farming that will inform the wider industry on best practice and new technologies to improve sustainability. We are looking forward to working with the teams in NUI Galway and Athlone Institute of Technology on this exciting project.” For further information about the project contact Mr Alan Kennedy, Project Manager, ECOAQUA on 086 8093078 or -Ends-

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The latest data from NUI Galway’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem shows a strong performance for 2017. The year saw significant high-quality collaborative research and license agreements with industry, and a number of new spin-outs created on campus. A programme was established on campus to provide new business innovators with the supports needed to accelerate their medical technology inventions to the market. Over 1,500 staff and students were actively engaged in entrepreneurship through the University’s education and mentorship programmes, Blackstone Launchpad and Explore. David Murphy, Director of NUI Galway’s Technology Transfer and Innovation Office, said: “To maximise the impact of our research and expertise, NUI Galway puts a strong focus on knowledge transfer, innovation and enterprise collaboration. Galway and the west of Ireland is a thriving and dynamic place for enterprise and entrepreneurs. With a student body of over 18,000, immense research outputs, and an annual research income of over €50 million, our University plays a crucial role in underpinning this ecosystem.” This year’s new spin-outs bring the number of campus-based companies to 34, including other spin-outs and local companies who are based on campus. Two of the new enterprises created on campus this year have the potential to benefit society through novel medical devices and diagnostics technologies: Loci Orthopaedics Ltd, which originates from the BioInnovate Programme and is set to commercialise an innovative orthopaedic thumb implant; and Bioprobe Diagnostics Ltd, emanates from the research of Drs Tom Barry and Kate Reddington from NUI Galway’s Discipline of Microbiology, and has been established to commercialise novel nucleic acid diagnostics technologies for the detection and identification of microbial contaminants associated with the environmental and industrial sectors. NUI Galway provides business supports and excellent facilities including laboratories and co-working spaces to support research and collaborative innovation. Fiona Neary, Manager of the Business Innovation Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This community of entrepreneurs is creating jobs and attracting investment, and the calibre of spin out’s from NUI Galway is testament to the high level of research taking place on campus, which is good for the region.” The Business Innovation Centre is very active in applying for the Horizon 2020 Small to Medium Enterprise instrument grants with four client companies already being successful in 2017 with many more progressing in 2018. Two successful companies in 2017 include: NUI Galway spin-out Westway Health, which is taking on the global challenge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, was given funding of €2.5 million by the EU in 2017; and DiaNia Technologies, a start-up who received over €2.5 million in Horizon 2020 funding. Cresco, who specialise in securing international grants and funding for technology-based clients have also established a presence on campus to support these activities. NUI Galway-based entrepreneurs attracting significant attention this year with a number of them receiving accolades include: Dr Brendan Boland, BioInnovate fellow and CEO of NUI Galway spin-out, Loci Orthopaedics, who was the recipient of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in the ‘Best New Idea’ category. The company was also the winner of the start-up contest at this year’s Medtech Ireland conference in Galway in October. AuriGen Medical and Loci Orthopaedics were winners in the EIT Health: UK-Ireland HeadStart/Proof-of-Concept Awards. Sarah Loughney, CEO and Founder of Kite Medical was selected by The HealthTech Venture Network as their 2017’s ELEVATE pitch competition winner in Boston. Orreco and Channel Mechanics scooped the IT Association of Galway awards in 2017. NUI Galway Research centres and programmes are also gaining recognition for their contribution to innovation with CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices winning the top award for Academic Contribution to Medtech at the recent Irish Medtech Associations Medtech Rising: The Irish Medtech CEO Conference and Awards ceremony. In recent years, the University has put a particular focus on innovation. In 2017, it saw the launch of Ireland’s first medtech accelerator, BioExel, which will significantly accelerate medtech opportunities which have a specific technical, commercial and/or clinical question to answer in an intensive six-month period. January 2018 will see the first cohort of companies based on campus working with BioExel. BioExel is a partnership programme funded by Enterprise Ireland, Galway University Foundation, the Western Development Commission and Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund, originated and delivered by an experienced Medtech team at NUI Galway. 2017 also marked the seventh year of BioInnovate, the medtech fellowship programme on campus which has resulted in three high-potential spin-outs, with two more in the final negotiation stages and a healthy pipeline of further companies expected. In total, the companies have attracted almost €14 million in a first round of investments. Among NUI Galway staff and students, entrepreneurship is also encouraged and supported at every level. The University’s Blackstone Launchpad is a multi-award winning entrepreneurship programme for staff, students, and alumni at NUI Galway. Since 2016, LaunchPad has supported over 4,500 students, coached over 1,500 sessions, and awarded over €40,000 in funding to support student ventures. In 2017, Coachbook, a student enterprise created, won the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year award. -Ends-

Monday, 8 January 2018

Students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to a CAO Information Evening on Thursday 11 January. Students, parents, guardians and guidance counsellors are invited to attend the event, which runs from 7pm to 9pm in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway. The evening will provide a short introduction to NUI Galway, a panel discussion on supporting the transition from second level to third level education that will include representatives from Sport, Admissions, Student Support Services and a recent university graduate from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. Afterwards, staff from all colleges on campus will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to the wide range of courses available and other practical issues such as fees and scholarships. Caroline Duggan, School Liaison Officer at NUI Galway, said: “This event is the perfect opportunity for Leaving Certificate students and their parents to get pertinent information about all of our undergraduate programmes. Some students will already have decided on what programme they want to pursue at university while other students may still be trying to make up their mind or might be looking for advice on their second, third or fourth CAO choices. This event will give them an opportunity to acquire the information they need to make informed course choices on their CAO.” Outperforming 21 other third-level institutions, NUI Galway has been named The Sunday Times University of the Year 2018. The University’s strong reputation as a centre for excellence in medical technology and across the arts and sciences, its impressive progression rates, and having the best job prospects of any other Irish university were among the reasons for the award. This award is not only based on league table position but also on an assessment under 22 criteria of the University's role on a local, national and international level. NUI Galway has also been the only university in Ireland to rise consistently in the most competitive World University Rankings. Both the QS and Times Higher Education Rankings have placed the University in a higher position year-on-year, and the University is now counted among the Top 250 universities in both rankings. According to QS, NUI Galway is among the Top 1% of universities in the world. Each year, students from all over Ireland choose NUI Galway to study unique programmes such as Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, a Marine Science degree and Podiatric Medicine, a programme unique to Ireland. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to its innovative programmes developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. The University is launching seven new Arts degrees for enrolment in 2018. This includes a BA (Music) which gives students a deep immersion in the study of music history, traditional Irish music, vocal and choral skills, composition, keyboard skills, music technology and music management. The event will have representatives from across the University’s five Colleges available to answer questions about the programmes on offer, entry requirements, and placement and employment opportunities. Shannon College of Hotel Management and St Angela’s College Sligo, both NUI Galway affiliates, will also be attending the event. For more information contact Caroline Duggan, School Liaison Officer on or 087 2391219. -Ends-

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

NUI Galway and Gas Networks Ireland are leading a new transport revolution as they introduce compressed natural gas (CNG) and renewable gas for trucks, vans and buses. The ‘Causeway’ project also marks a first for NUI Galway, as this is the first time that the University has been successful in securing a funding application from the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility. The Causeway project received approval for €6.5 million co-funding from the European Commission. Causeway will see the development of a natural gas transport re-fuelling network in Ireland.  The project will support an overall nationwide roll-out of 70 compressed natural gas filling stations. In addition to this, a renewable gas injection facility will be built in 2018. This will introduce renewable gas into the natural gas network for the first time. The work which is undertaken in Ireland will be monitored and documented by NUI Galway. This research will then be fed back to gas operators all over Europe and will assist in the development of similar projects across the continent. Commenting on the project, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “This is a major project for NUI Galway to be involved in, as it will form the basis of the first use of an alternative, sustainable transport fuel in Ireland. Within our Ryan Institute for Environment, Marine and Energy Research, in particular, we have built up a track record in sustainability research and innovation. This includes decades of scientific and engineering expertise built up in the area of renewable gas. We look forward to NUI Galway playing a key role in distilling and disseminating the results and impacts of the Causeway Project, not only for the benefit of Ireland, but to provide learnings to other EU member states too.” Denis O’Sullivan, Head of Commercial at Gas Networks Ireland, explained the importance of the project to Ireland: “Transport accounts for over one third of all energy used in Ireland. The development of a natural gas transport network will significantly de-carbonise Ireland’s commercial fleet. CNG, and the soon to be introduced renewable gas, will play a major role in making transport in Ireland cleaner. Gas Networks Ireland is determined to play an important role in facilitating the development of this new, cleaner transport network. It is particularly important that the advances we are making through this project, and through the work of NUI Galway, will play a role in changing the transport landscape throughout Europe.”  The Causeway project, which is funded under the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), will deliver a clean energy project for Ireland’s transport sector, and in doing so, provide a template for the rest of Europe. NUI Galway is leading the dissemination element of the €25 million project. Its work will facilitate new green energy developments across Europe. Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, praised the application teams: “I congratulate both the Gas Networks Ireland and Ryan Institute teams that worked together diligently, over a couple of years, to bring about the success of the Causeway application to the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility – Transport. I thank current staff Pádraic Ó hUiginn, Dr Rory Monaghan and Suzanne Nolan, amongst others, for enabling the University’s involvement in this successful application. I look forward to the infrastructural roll-out by Gas Networks Ireland and to its impacts, which will be studied and disseminated by a Ryan Institute team at NUI Galway.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Developing and Implementing Dementia Policy in Ireland report, edited by Professor Eamon O’Shea, Professor Suzanne Cahill and Dr Maria Pierce is a seminal piece of work that offers context, narrative and reflection on the current state of play in relation to dementia in Ireland, covering prevalence, costs, rights, practice and policy for people with dementia. The report was launched at NUI Galway on (Tuesday 19 December) by Minster of State, Ciarán Cannon TD. Published by the University’s Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia, led by Professor Eamon O’Shea, it includes contributions from scholars in Ireland and internationally. The report favours a social insurance model of funding as being the best way to ensure the delivery of a comprehensive system of community-based care for people with dementia. The Developing and Implementing Dementia Policy in Ireland report is a reflection on various aspects of care for people with dementia in Ireland and internationally with a view to informing future developments in dementia practice and policy. Some chapters are conceptual and build on previous work by the authors contained in the Creating Excellence in Dementia Care Report: a Research Review for Ireland’s National Dementia Strategy published in 2012; others are focused on innovations in the organisation and delivery of care; while the remainder are prospective narratives on what needs to happen in the future. The international dimension of dementia is explicitly covered in the report. The baseline dementia prevalence estimates in this report suggest that the number of people with dementia in Ireland is currently 55,266. By 2046, the number of people with dementia will have almost trebled to 157,883. The study also estimates that there are currently 60,000 informal caregivers providing support for people with dementia living in the community in Ireland. The overall cost of dementia is estimated at just under €2 billion euro in the report. Professor Eamon O’Shea from NUI Galway, said: “The ideas presented in this report lay the foundations for the next iteration of the National Dementia Strategy.The report argues that people with dementia want better and timely information on dementia, expanded choice, personalised care, integrated provision and more practical supports for family carers. Providing good quality care that is tailored to the individual needs of older people will be expensive, “requiring a significant expansion in the range of services, improved co-ordination, integration and regulation”, according to Dr Maria Pierce from DCU. Professor Suzanne Cahill from TCD, said: “Living at home in the community for as long as possible is a universal and desirable goal for all of us, yet home care provision for people with dementia in Ireland is currently weak and many needs remain unmet.” To read the full report, visit: -Ends-

Friday, 22 December 2017

For the third year running, NUI Galway will host a regional heat for FameLab 2018, one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world, held in 30 countries with over 9,000 participants having taken part across the globe to date. If you think you can explain a scientific concept to a general audience, in just three minutes, then why not enter? You could become the new face of science and represent Ireland at the 2018 FameLab International Final in the UK, opening doors to global opportunities in science communication. The aim of each presentation is that the audience and judges should be left inspired and enthused about science. The winner will be a charismatic presenter who makes the science easy to listen to, entertaining, exciting, and who is not only able to communicate the science but who can share their passion for it. Expect to hear anything from why men have nipples, how 3D glasses work and if nuclear energy is a good or bad thing? Presentations will be judged according to FameLab’s ‘3 C’s’: Content, Clarity and Charisma. The competition is open to a range of people who apply, work on, teach or study science: People who apply science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) in industry or business. People who work on applying STEM (patent clerks, statisticians, consultants to industry). Lecturers and researchers in STEM including specialist science teachers with a science degree. University students studying STEM aged over 18 years. People who apply STEM in the armed forces or government bodies. Successful candidates who make it through to the initial regional heat stage, will be invited to attend an all-expenses paid ‘Communication Masterclass’ in Dublin on the 24-25 March, and will participate in the FameLab Ireland Final being held at the Science Gallery in Dublin in April 2018. The winner will represent Ireland at the FameLab International Final at the Cheltenham Science Festival with representatives from global organisations like NASA and CERN. By entering FameLab, participants will begin a journey with like-minded people, build their networks and expand skillsets essential for developing their career. Muriel Grenon, FameLab organiser and lecturer in the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is delighted to partner with FameLab once more for what is an electric night of science communication. We look forward to representation from students, lecturers and researchers from the University, scientists from industry and science teachers, to share their work in science with an interested audience.” Liz McBain, British Council of Ireland, said: “We are delighted to see FameLab coming to Galway again and to witness the competition growing from strength to strength in Ireland. We have some of the most talented STEM professionals but talent isn’t enough. In this global economy, they also need to learn to communicate their science to local and international audiences, to investors, to partners, to colleagues and even to the wider public. FameLab provides an ideal platform to do this.” FameLab Galway is in partnership with the British Council of Ireland and NUI Galway, and forms part of the annual FameLab Ireland competition. To enter the Galway heat, complete the online registration form by 16 February, at: Participants can alternatively submit their entry to FameLab Ireland by online video, see for further details. Training for entrants will take place in Galway on Wednesday, 7 February, with the regional heat scheduled for Tuesday, 1 March 2018. -Ends-

Thursday, 21 December 2017

The Developing and Implementing Dementia Policy in Ireland report, edited by Professor Eamon O’Shea, Professor Suzanne Cahill and Dr Maria Pierce is a seminal piece of work that offers context, narrative and reflection on the current state of play in relation to dementia in Ireland, covering prevalence, costs, rights, practice and policy for people with dementia. The report was launched at NUI Galway on (Tuesday 19 December) by Minster of State, Ciarán Cannon TD. Published by the University’s Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia, led by Professor Eamon O’Shea, it includes contributions from scholars in Ireland and internationally. The report favours a social insurance model of funding as being the best way to ensure the delivery of a comprehensive system of community-based care for people with dementia. The Developing and Implementing Dementia Policy in Ireland report is a reflection on various aspects of care for people with dementia in Ireland and internationally with a view to informing future developments in dementia practice and policy. Some chapters are conceptual and build on previous work by the authors contained in the Creating Excellence in Dementia Care Report: a Research Review for Ireland’s National Dementia Strategy published in 2012; others are focused on innovations in the organisation and delivery of care; while the remainder are prospective narratives on what needs to happen in the future. The international dimension of dementia is explicitly covered in the report. The baseline dementia prevalence estimates in this report suggest that the number of people with dementia in Ireland is currently 55,266. By 2046, the number of people with dementia will have almost trebled to 157,883. The study also estimates that there are currently 60,000 informal caregivers providing support for people with dementia living in the community in Ireland. The overall cost of dementia is estimated at just under €2 billion euro in the report. Professor Eamon O’Shea from NUI Galway, said: “The ideas presented in this report lay the foundations for the next iteration of the National Dementia Strategy.The report argues that people with dementia want better and timely information on dementia, expanded choice, personalised care, integrated provision and more practical supports for family carers. Providing good quality care that is tailored to the individual needs of older people will be expensive, “requiring a significant expansion in the range of services, improved co-ordination, integration and regulation”, according to Dr Maria Pierce from DCU. Professor Suzanne Cahill from TCD, said: “Living at home in the community for as long as possible is a universal and desirable goal for all of us, yet home care provision for people with dementia in Ireland is currently weak and many needs remain unmet.” To read the full report, visit:   -Ends-

Thursday, 21 December 2017

NUI Galway is developing a suite of unobtrusive, wearable electronic devices to help manage the debilitating motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease, referred to as Freezing of Gait. The first generation of the system resulted from NUI Galway’s involvement in the €4.7 million European FP7 project, REMPARK, which had 11 partners across Europe including NUI Galway. As part of this project the University has developed a novel wearable electronic device, called ‘cueStim’, designed to prevent or relieve Freezing of Gait, which is commonly described by people with Parkinson’s, as a feeling as if their feet are stuck or glued to the floor preventing them from moving forward. Dr Leo Quinlan, lecturer in Physiology at the School of Medicine in NUI Galway, and the project’s Co-Principal Investigator, said: “The severity of Freezing of Gait depends on the stage of the disease and it can have a very severe impact on quality of life, affecting people with Parkinson’s ability to walk for extended periods of time and is a common cause of falls in Parkinson’s disease.” The Human Movement Laboratory at the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, is currently working to further enhance the technology, particularly in the area of usability and human factors through the project ‘EScapeFOG’. To achieve this goal, NUI Galway is partnering with Parkinson’s support groups to test and evaluate the usability and human factors of the system. Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Professor of Electronic Engineering in the School of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, and project Co-Principal Investigator, commented: “We are using what is referred to as a User Centred Design methodology, to ensure that the developed technology meets the needs of the intended users. This involves testing all aspects of the system with the Parkinson’s community and seeking their feedback on its usability throughout the design process.” The Human Movement Laboratory at NUI Galway is currently involved in a very effective collaboration with the Clare Parkinson’s Support Group on enhancing the design of the cueStim system, to more effectively meet the needs of people with Parkinson’s using this technology. A recent usability and human factors workshop held at the University was attended by 16 members of the Clare Parkinson’s Support Group. T.J. Waters, PRO for the Clare Parkinson’s Support Group, said: “The opportunity to view at first hand the research being undertaken to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s was an experience not to be missed. Clare Parkinson’s Support Group members are delighted to have an active role in this exciting project, which will be of benefit ultimately to people with Parkinson’s throughout the world.” Any person wishing to participate in future studies involving this device can contact Dean Sweeney, the system’s lead designer at: and 089-2576449. The research was part-funded by the European Commission under the FP7 prgramme and Science Foundation Ireland. -Ends-

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Researchers at NUI Galway and the University of British Columbia find addressing dietary environment is more effective than addressing dietary behaviour A new study published this month in the international journal Diabetes Care, provides important clues as to the most effective components of dietary lifestyle interventions, to help people with type 2 diabetes better control their condition and lose weight. The international collaboration between scientists from NUI Galway and the University of British Columbia examined the data from all of the relevant published clinical trials. From thousands of studies conducted over four decades, they sought to identify how effective specific behaviour change techniques (BCTs) were in the 54 clinical trials of dietary interventions they identified. Kevin Cradock, the study’s first author and an Irish Research Council postgraduate scholar at NUI Galway, said: “Behaviour change techniques are methods that can help people change their behaviour using a variety of techniques such as goals and planning or restructuring the environment. Changing the food environment is one of the keys to treating type 2 diabetes. Before we change the food environment we need to look carefully at what it is and how it affects us.” “We examined systematically the individual behaviour change techniques in the 54 studies that assessed dietary modification strategies in type 2 diabetes patients”, explains Professor Heather Gainforth, senior author of the study from UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences. “The evidence indicates that people with type 2 diabetes need more support when it comes to changing their diets. Basically, instead of telling people to change what they eat, they should initially be given healthy meals and receive ongoing support to help change their eating habits.” Dr Leo Quinlan from the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “We discovered that the studies assessed were using 42 distinct behaviour change techniques, which are different ways to help people. While no individual behaviour change technique stood out, we did find that improvements in diabetes control and weight in affected patients were greater when they were provided with healthy meals and when they had frequent contact with health professionals such as dietitians.” Professor Gainforth added: “Without any support, behaviour change efforts can quickly fall apart. We need to be thinking about a better way to support people with diabetes. It may seem impractical to provide food and control the food environment. However, we need to examine the viability of providing healthy meals at the beginning of a program, followed by instruction and feedback as to how to choose, shop for, and prepare these foods. Gradually, this approach may support people to prepare healthy meals independently.” Professor Francis Finucane, study co-author and obesity physician at Galway University Hospitals, said: “It is interesting that interventions which influence the dietary environment were about 56% more effective than those which sought to persuade people to eat less unhealthily. This is consistent with our understanding now that obesity and diabetes are complex neurobehavioral disorders which are strongly genetically determined and are highly susceptible to environmental factors. If type 2 diabetes is a flood, rather than encouraging affected individuals to swim harder, we should seek to lower the water level.” Professor Gainforth agrees: “It seems very clear that until we change the environment and change the way we look at diet and public policy, people will find it much harder to change their behaviour.” The study was funded by the Irish Research Council. It involved scientists and engineers from NUI Galway’s Schools of Medicine and Engineering and Informatics and the Human Movement Laboratory at the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, along with behavioural scientists from Canada’s University of British Columbia Okanagan’s Faculty of Health and Social Development. To read the full study in Diabetes Care, visit: -Ends-  

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway has today published a new report on Sexual Health and Attitudes. It is the first comprehensive survey of sexual behaviour and sexual assault in an emerging adulthood college population (aged 18-29). The survey was carried out at NUI Galway by Elaine Byrnes and Pádraig MacNeela, in 2015. It provides a baseline understanding of college students’ sexual health, behaviour and attitudes, both positive and negative sexual experiences. Also, findings reflect the impact of alcohol on decisions to have sex and unwanted sexual activity as a result of alcohol consumption. Padraig MacNeela, School of Psychology at NUI Galway said: “This survey incorporated standardised questionnaire tools that have been researched and validated internationally. The report sheds light on how these factors occur in an Irish context. In many cases this is the first time that some of these measures have been used outside the US, and the first time they have been reported on in an Irish context.” Elaine Byrnes, Doctoral Researcher on the PhD in Child & Youth Research at the School of Psychology, NUI Galway said: “The results of this survey show the incidence of sexual violence and assault are comparable to international studies of college students, and highlight the need for a national study of third level students on this issue. Findings on alcohol related sex consequences, particularly where students report being forced or pressured into sexual activity, highlights the importance of continuing consent education; how it is understood and communicated, and the role of alcohol in sexual decision making.” Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, and John Hannon, Director of Student Services, said: “We at NUI Galway are committed to supporting and enhancing the holistic development of students attending our institution. These data will contribute to informing further development of policies and services in the area of sexual health on our campus.” Key findings on student sexual health, behaviour and attitudes include: In the past 12 months, 8% of females and 3% of males were certain someone had sexual contact with them where they were unable to provide consent or stop what was happening because they were passed out, drugged, drunk, incapacitated or asleep and are certain this happened In the past 12 months, 8% of females and 4% of males were uncertain but suspected sexual contact where they were unable to provide consent or stop what was happening because they were passed out, drugged, drunk, incapacitated or asleep 27% of females and 35% of males agree with the statement “Guys don’t usually intend to force sex on a girl, but sometimes they get too sexually carried away” 75% of females and 55.5% of males are extremely/very likely to confront a friend who plans to give someone alcohol to get sex 76% of females and 69% of males agree they are less nervous about sex after drinking 35% of females and 58% of males agree they have sex with people with whom they wouldn’t sober 58% of females and 69% of males agree that hooking up is part of the college experience 90% of females and 86% of males agree/strongly agree they would use body language or signals to indicate their consent to sex 73% of females and 77.5% of males agree/strongly agree they would ask a partner if he/she wanted to go back to their place to communicate consent to sex 5% of females in a relationship agree they are satisfied with their sex life compared to 26.5% of single females 56% of males in a relationship agree if they could live their sex lives over, would change nothing, compared with 21% of single males Niamh Murtagh, Vice President for Welfare at the USI also welcomed the Report, “This report demonstrates the necessity of such vital information, and will form the backbone of initiatives that will be rolled out in our third level institutions. In turn, this will enable the enrichment of student health, wellbeing and their welfare in college setting.” The main author of the report is Elaine Byrnes, Doctoral Researcher in Child & Youth Research at the School of Psychology, NUI Galway. The co-author is Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology, NUI Galway. To read the full Report (SHAG – Sexual Health Attitudes, Galway) visit: -Ends-

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Dr Shane Browne, a postdoctoral fellow at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway, has just been awarded a prestigious American Heart Association fellowship to continue his postdoctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley. The American Heart Association is the largest source of funding for cardiovascular disease and stroke research next to the US federal government. The mission of the Association is to fund cutting-edge science and build careers in science and research that impact every aspect of cardiovascular disease and stroke prevention and treatment. This fellowship recognises and supports outstanding young researchers in this field and will fund Dr Browne’s research at the University of California at Berkeley for two years. Dr Shane Browne’s research focuses on the use of biomaterial and stem cell-based therapies to restore blood flow to parts of the body. This work will be conducted with Professor Kevin Healy at the Healy Laboratory in UC Berkeley. The Laboratory focuses on the combination of biological and materials science to help engineer new systems for medical applications. The group is highly interdisciplinary, incorporating researchers from the fields of bioengineering, materials engineering, medicine, and molecular biology. Speaking about his fellowship award, Dr Browne said: “This American Heart Association award will allow me to build on the expertise in biomaterials and stem cell technology that I have previously developed at UC Berkeley and CÚRAM. Cardiovascular disease is a major problem worldwide, and I believe that stem cells and biomaterials will play a key role in the development of effective treatments for patients. I hope to return to NUI Galway after this fellowship and apply my time in Berkeley to advance research in Galway.” Congratulating Dr Browne on his Fellowship, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM, said “We’re delighted to see more and more of our students progress and be recognised for the calibre of work that they are achieving here at CÚRAM. I wish Dr Browne every success in his work at the Healy Lab in Berkeley. Training and building the capacity of our researchers to take leading roles in biomedical sciences in the future is extremely important to us and we are extremely proud of this achievement.” CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, is a multidisciplinary centre bringing together research strength and capacity in biomaterials, drug delivery, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, glycoscience, and device design. The Centre’s vision is to develop affordable, innovative and transformative device-based solutions to treat global chronic diseases. -Ends-

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

A diabetes research team at NUI Galway’s School of Medicine has developed a novel approach to improve how diabetes services are delivered to young adults. The team has published two new open access articles detailing the formation of their ‘Young Adult Panel’, comprising of nine young adults aged 18–25 years with type 1 diabetes. This young group have helped design the ‘D1 Now’ intervention programme, which aims to improve diabetes services by reimagining care and moving beyond the traditional clinic. Research indicates that this particular age group of young adults with type 1 diabetes often disengage from health services and their general diabetes management. Involving young adults with this condition in co-designing research to help develop a behaviour change in intervention to improve engagement with health services could potentially improve overall self-management and health. Many young adults with type 1 diabetes find it hard to control their blood glucose levels. With lots going on in their lives, their diabetes is often not the priority and means they do not always take care of their condition such as attending clinic appointments. These young adults do not usually get the chance to make suggestions on how to improve diabetes services. Being involved could help shape the diabetes care services that support them. The D1 Now research team at NUI Galway, led by Professor Seán Dinneen, says: “Through the formation of the D1 Now Young Adult Panel, it demonstrates that involving young adults with this condition in health service research, is feasible and productive. Their guidance and feedback is instrumental in creating an intervention with a difference. It also demonstrates that involving young adults in co-designing research to develop a complex behaviour change intervention to improve diabetes services ensures the process is grounded in the needs and experiences of those directly affected by type 1 diabetes.” By ensuring that young adults are at the centre of the design means that the intervention will be more acceptable to this group. Previous work from the D1 Now team indicates that young adults want care to be centred on the relationships built within their diabetes team. These new ways of engagement can offer more continuity during a time of transition, whether it takes the form of a designated staff member, through devices/eHealth tools, or through tools to facilitate shared decision-making and goal-setting. Michelle Long, a member of the Young Adult Panel said that she was: “Proud to be part of this research paper as one of the young adults on the panel aiming to improve care for diabetes in Ireland.” The Young Adult Panel developed research materials such as participant information sheets. They also reviewed and interpreted research findings to create plain language statements so that the team’s work is framed in the most appropriate way for young adults and anyone who may wish to engage with the research. The Panel has also helped develop the study website to enhance engagement between young adults and their diabetes healthcare providers. The D1 Now team contributed to an international consensus conference on health services delivery for young adults with type 1 diabetes and wrote specific sections of a further grant application to test out the new intervention. As a direct result of the Young Adult Panel, a meaningful dialogue has opened up between healthcare providers and young adults within the research team. Their involvement has led to a better understanding of what needs to be achieved in order to improve health service delivery in terms of responding to the specific needs of young adults at this transitional time in their lives. The panel have been active members in co-designing a health behaviour change intervention to improve engagement between young adults with type 1 diabetes and healthcare providers that will be evaluated in future research. The D1 Now research team and the formation of the Young Adult Panel article won the HSE Open Access Awards last Friday, 8 December. The winner of the award was Mary Clare O’Hara from the D1Now team. The study was funded through a Health Research Board, Definitive Interventions and Feasibility Awards grant. -Ends-

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Sean Kyne TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development has launched a new publication, Creative Economies in Peripheral Regions written by Dr Patrick Collins at NUI Galway and Professor James Cunningham at the University of Northumbria. Dr Collins and Professor Cunningham make their policy recommendations for supporting the growth of creative economies in peripheral areas. As a sustainable model for development, one that relies on the infinite resource of human creativity, it has the potential to act as a vital agent in the future growth of peripheral regions in Ireland. NUI Galway has long been recognised as a leading international centre for the creative arts, with strong specialisms in Drama, Theatre, Performance, Visual Arts, Creative Writing, Film, Digital Media and emerging areas in creative production and arts entrepreneurship. The University has formed strong partnerships with the creative arts sector, notably with such institutions as Druid Theatre, the Abbey Theatre and Galway International Arts Festival. In the book the authors make the case for vibrant, creative and cultural economies existing beyond large urban settlements in peripheral regions in Ireland. It is the first publication to map the existence of the creative economy beyond city boundaries. This work takes place within the context of an evolving consumer society where there is increasing recognition of a change in consumer patterns as the modern consumption era matures. Commenting about the new publication, Dr Patrick Collins from the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway, said: “This book is about putting a positive spin on the term ‘peripheral’. We provide evidence of people, inspired by their place, competing in international markets where the authenticity and creative nature of their produce is in high demand.” Dr Collins added: “As more and more people buy goods that they feel reflect their own individual identity, more of us are expressing ourselves by how we dress, what we eat, what we listen to and where we go on holiday. In doing this we are turning our back on mass produced goods and services. As the market for these kinds of goods laden with expressive values increases, the products from our peripheral regions become more desirable. We argue in the book that it is the connectedness to place; the use of more traditional production techniques; and the imbued sense of authenticity in the produce of the peripheral regions that makes them more and more marketable in a maturing consumer society.” Creative industries mentioned in the book include Telegael in Spiddal, County Galway, a leading feature film, TV drama and animation company with major global partners, which employs over 70 people in high value jobs and is co-producing projects with companies located all across the world, operating from a small village in the West of Ireland. And Druid Theatre, an organisation that produces critically acclaimed theatre productions inspired by the stories of the periphery and bringing them to audiences across Ireland and right around the world. By looking at how these products in more remote areas are produced, the productive practices seen in the case study regions within the book are reflecting those of leading innovative industries. The book shows how creatives in remote regions, collaborate, co-produce, switch codes (writers and visual artists become theatre makers and game designers) that demonstrates an agility that is seen by many as key to productive success. By shining a light on the array of business models adopted by these industries the book highlights a sector that is more connected to its place, and its society in a way that is unique in the modern context. This book will be of value to those from a social science and business background and it will also be of interest to those within this growing sector and those that support it. -Ends-

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway has just been awarded the ‘Academic Contribution to Medtech Award’ by the Irish Medtech Association at the Medtech Rising: The Irish Medtech CEO Conference and Awards Ceremony. The event, which took place in Galway, was jointly hosted by the Irish Medtech Association, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, which recognises and celebrates companies that have played a leading role in making Ireland a location of choice for global Medtech.  Commenting on the Award, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, said: “We are delighted to receive this award and I would like to congratulate all who were shortlisted for these awards this evening. We are very proud to be a research partner to 27 MedTech companies currently, and we look forward to growing and enriching these networks and helping the Irish MedTech sector develop a solid research base here in Ireland and continue to lead the field as one of the top five global MedTech hubs.” Congratulating CÚRAM on the award, acting Irish Medtech Association Director, Eoghan Ó Faoláin said: “The reason Ireland is in a position to compete with major Medtech hubs such as Massachusetts and Minnesota, is thanks to the diversity of the sector here and the collaborative innovation that takes place on a regular basis between Irish Small and Medium Enterprises, Foreign Direct Investment multinational companies, and top universities, as well as other strategic sectors such as ICT, design and manufacturing. With Ireland ranked first for labour productivity, flexibility of talent, as well as attracting and retaining talent, it’s no surprise that Medtech growth is underpinned by job creation, with 38,000 people working in the sector now and an additional 4,000 jobs to be added by 2020.”  The diversity of the Irish Medtech sector was reflected in six award categories, namely: the Academic Contribution to Medtech Award; the Medtech Company of the Year; Emerging Medtech Company of the Year; eHealth Innovation of the Year; Medtech Partner/Supplier of the Year; and the Best European Medtech Week Campaign Award. Michael Lohan, Head of Life Sciences, Engineering and Industrial Technology Division at IDA Ireland, said: “It is clear from the list of finalists that Ireland is a one-stop-shop for Medtech with everything you need to take medical technology from concept to market here. We are not only the second largest exporter of Medtech products in Europe, but the number one location for Medtech Foreign Direct Investment. The Irish Medtech Awards are a great way to celebrate the sector’s achievements and bring people together.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The first cohort of students from a unique new Masters in Medical Technology Regulatory Affairs offered jointly by NUI Galway and IT Sligo have graduated.  The two year Masters programme is offered through a partnership with the Irish Medtech Skillnet and Irish Medtech Association. The medical technology sector employs over 38,000 people in Ireland and is the second largest employer of MedTech professionals in Europe. Undertaken by professionals working regulatory affairs and quality, the masters programme equips graduates with essential knowledge and skills required in the rapidly changing global regulatory affairs environment within the growing Irish Medical Technology industry sector. Professor Terry Smith, Co-Director of the programme said: “Conferring the first graduates is a very significant milestone for this MSc programme, which is unique in Ireland. The very successful partnership between NUI Galway and IT Sligo, as well as with the Irish MedTech Association Skillnet, and MedTech industry experts, ensures a strong focus on meeting a critical MedTech industry need.  As a result, the Masters, now in its third year, is growing from strength to strength.” President of IT Sligo, Brendan McCormack said: “IT Sligo is justly proud of this collaboration which, once again, illustrates the ability of online education in helping to address a recognised skills shortage in a key industry sector such as MedTech. Great credit is due to the staff of both institutions that have helped to develop the programme.” Senior Irish Medtech Association Executive, Dr Áine Fox said: “Now that the EU medical device and IVD regulations have entered into force, the transition period clocks have begun counting down for both. Ensuring that we have talent with ability to manage these changes, which will have both operational and financial implications for the 450 medtech business across Ireland.” -Ends-

Monday, 11 December 2017

Dr Martin O’Halloran from NUI Galway was announced as the winner of the inaugural Irish Research Council ‘Researcher of the Year’ award for his outstanding research in medical electronics. Dr O’Halloran is a Techrete Senior Lecturer in Medical Electronics at NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics and College of Medicine, and a Founder-Director of the Lambe Translational Medical Device Lab at Galway University Hospital. The awards were presented as the Council marks 15 years of the Irish Research Council and its forebears, the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology. Commenting on receiving his award, Dr Martin O’Halloran from NUI Galway, said: “This award is a reflection of the quality and ambition of the broader research team in the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway, and validates the close collaboration between the Colleges of Engineering and Informatics, and Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences. By embedding our engineering lab within the hospital, we get a greater understanding of the real clinical need, and can shorten the time required to translate technology out of the lab and into the patient clinic.” The Lambe Translational Medical Device Lab now hosts 24 world class researchers from Europe, the US and Asia, including engineers, physicists, veterinary surgeons and doctors. The team are developing medical devices to address problems ranging from new ways to reliably detect fetal distress during delivery, to novel treatments for lung cancer. Dr Paola Rivetti, Dublin City University, was awarded the ‘Early-Career Researcher of the Year’ award for her research in politics of the Middle East and international relations. Her research interests focus on the government of societies and politics in the Middle East and North Africa from a comparative perspective. The two Council-funded researchers received their awards for having made a highly significant and valuable contribution to research in Ireland over their career to-date in their respective fields. Congratulating the awardees, Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, Mr John Halligan, TD said: “I would like to warmly congratulate Dr Martin O’ Halloran and Dr Paola Rivetti on receiving the inaugural Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year awards. Their exceptional careers are a testament to the quality of the people in Ireland’s research environment and I would like to commend them on their hard work and dedication to their chosen field.” Chair of the Irish Research Council, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, congratulated the two awardees: “I am delighted to congratulate Dr Martin O Halloran and Dr Paola Rivetti on receiving the inaugural Researcher of the Year awards. We received many nominations of current and previously Council-funded researchers. Dr O’Halloran and Dr Rivetti were selected for their outstanding track records to date and I would like to wish them all the very best in their future research careers.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Many people experience obsessive thoughts that they struggle to remove from their mind. Others have compulsive behaviours that they feel like repeating over and over again such as checking locks and washing. The School of Psychology at NUI Galway is seeking over a 1,000 people from across Ireland who experience any of these symptoms to participate in an online survey. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can significantly impact a person’s life, with some individuals spending as much as six hours per day experiencing these symptoms. Although a diagnosis of OCD is relatively uncommon, only occurring in 2-3% of the population, approximately a quarter of all people in community studies report experiencing lower-level obsessions or compulsions at some point in their lives. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can take many forms: Thoughts about being contaminated or dirty and engaging in excessive washing. Repetitive checking of locks and switches or certain rituals to prevent bad events. Unpleasant and unwanted thoughts about engaging in immoral or aggressive acts. An excessive need for symmetry and order, associated with a ‘not just right’ feeling. Certain emotions have been linked to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. For example, a person may wash excessively to remove feelings of disgust. Furthermore, strong feelings of guilt and responsibility can be associated with excessive checking of switches and locks. This current research will seek to examine the relationship between such emotions and obsessional and compulsive symptoms. The online study will be conducted by Patrick McHugh, a psychologist in clinical training at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway along with Dr Jonathan Egan, Deputy Director of the Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programme at the University.  Speaking about the study, Mr McHugh from NUI Galway, said: “Obsessions can feel overwhelming and difficult to control. We aim to investigate whether strong emotions like guilt and disgust contribute to such symptoms.” Dr Jonathan Egan who is a both a Chartered Health and Chartered Clinical Psychologist at NUI Galway, said: “When people do not reach out to others in order to normalise their thoughts, they may then start to experience distress. Obsessions are often associated with thoughts which feel intrusive and out of your own control and if left untended to, can become a worrying pre-occupation and affect a person’s day-to-day life and may result in the need for a Chartered Clinical Psychologist’s intervention.” To participate in the study email or  visit: Participants can enter a draw for a €100 One4All voucher on completion of the survey and request access to a summary of the results. -Ends-

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Cresco, a leading innovation company based in the UK, specialising in securing international grants and funding for technology based clients, has announced the opening of its first Irish office at NUI Galway’s Business Innovation Centre. NUI Galway is renowned for being a hotbed of innovation, particularly in the Medtech and Biotech industries with its ecosystem growing from strength to strength. The University’s Business Innovation Centre has supported numerous companies, both spin-ins and spin-outs from initial commercial road mapping to scaling up the business opportunity. They support the success of these companies by providing facilities on campus and the ability to carry out research, which is supported by funding bodies such as Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, the European Union and Horizon 2020. To date NUI Galway has been extremely successful in achieving Horizon 2020 grants in a number of funding applications. In 2017, a total of 22 Horizon 2020 proposals were awarded funding, securing almost €9 million in research funds. The Business Innovation Centre is also very active in applying for the Horizon 2020 Small to Medium Enterprise instrument grant with four client companies already being successful in 2017. To continue these funding success’ the arrival of Cresco to the Business Innovation Centre,  the experts in securing international and European grant funding to support academic research is a significant partnership for the University. With its headquarters in the UK, the Cresco team have been working with many Irish companies and have enjoyed unprecedented success winning funding applications through the Horizon 2020 programme. Particularly in phase two stage of applications where Cresco has won over €5.1 million for Irish clients in the last 12 months. Fiona Neary, Manager of the Business Innovation Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting partnership with Cresco as NUI Galway continues to transform healthcare and the Medtech ecosystem. Our vision is to create innovative medical technologies which are affordable and transformative for patients with both acute and chronic conditions. This will bring us closer to the patient need, while also stimulating innovation and job creation through high-potential start-ups.” Jo Derbyshire, CEO of Cresco, said: “We are very excited to formally establish our Irish operations. We have been working with Irish clients for some time, and the opportunity of an office at the NUI Galway Business Innovation Centre is the ideal opportunity for us to build on the success we have enjoyed so far, Cresco Ireland is a key pillar of our ‘Brexit’ strategy.” This activity is supported on campus by the office of the Vice-President for Research, CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, BioInnovate Medical Technology innovation programme and the first Medtech Accelerator in Ireland, BioExel, all operating from NUI Galway. The partnership with Cresco will lead to further grant potential with commercial impacts for Galway and the wider region, with many discussions already underway with potential University spin out’s and early stage start-up’s. The aim of the Business Innovation Centre is to create an environment which promotes entrepreneurialism and innovation, enhances spin out formation and new business growth. The centre gives companies a prime opportunity to benefit from the first class facilities available at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Monday, 4 December 2017

NUI Galway and University of Oxford study proves centuries-old giant boulder deposits in the Northwest of Ireland were caused by high Atlantic storm waves  Professor Paul Ryan from NUI Galway and Professor John Dewey from University of Oxford have carried out research that proves the spectacular boulder deposits of Annagh Head in County Mayo were caused not by an unknown tsunami but by Atlantic storm waves of up to 30 metres breaking against the shore for hundreds of years. The findings were published this week in the leading journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Enormous boulders, some over 50 tonnes, piled on the foreshore or at the top of a small cliff  in a deposit called a boulderite are evidence of the power of extreme waves. Tsunamis are known to have massive power and most such deposits, including those along the Wild Atlantic Way, are believed to be ‘tsunamites’. However, in 2004, the late Professor D Michael Williams of NUI Galway argued that the boulders on the Atlantic cliffs of the Arran Islands were due to storm waves, which caused considerable international debate at the time. In an attempt to resolve this controversy Professors Dewey and Ryan compared two deposits: a tsunamite from the Miocene of New Zealand and a present-day boulderite at Annagh Head in County Mayo. Field data shows that in the North Island of New Zealand a 10 million year boulderite which contains boulders in excess of 140 tonnes, the Matheson Formation Bay, was produced by a 12-13 metre-high tsunami within a period of about one hour. The origin of the boulders at Annagh Head, which exceed 50 tonnes, is disputed. The researchers combined oceanographic, historical, and field data to argue that this is a cliff-top storm deposit. A computer simulation of a cliff-top storm deposit was developed, which shows that boulder shape in addition to density and dimensions should be taken into account when applying hydrodynamic equations to such deposits. The model also predicted that Northeast Atlantic storms, which historically have produced waves of over 60 metres, are capable of producing boulderites that cannot be distinguished from tsunamites when size alone is considered. Comparing and contrasting these two deposits helps indentify the origins of boulderites. Climate change means our shorelines are becoming more vulnerable and the ability to read these piles of boulders will help us understand how much more vulnerable. Co-author of the study, Professor Paul Ryan from Earth and Ocean Sciences in the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “This study shows the enormous power of storm waves battering the foreshore over centuries, ripping boulders of over 50 tonnes from the cliff face, piling them 100 metres or more inland.” Professor John Dewey from University of Oxford and co-author of the study, said: “The triple junction between land, sea and air is perhaps the least well understood in the Earth Sciences. We should pay greater attention to our shores.” -Ends- 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Charity founder and Arts Festival visionaries to be conferred with honorary degrees WATCH: Honorary graduate, Jack McCann, speak about the power of volunteering WATCH: Honorary graduates, John Crumlish and Paul Fahy, talk about the future of creative arts in Galway Over 1,600 students will graduate from across the five colleges at NUI Galway at the University's winter conferring ceremonies, which take place from today, Tuesday, 21 November to Thursday, 23 November. During the conferrings, honorary degrees will be conferred on Galway International Arts Festival visionaries, John Crumlish and Paul Fahy, and on local charity founder, Jack McCann. In recognition of his public contribution and charity work, a Doctor of Laws degree will be conferred on Jack McCann on Tuesday, 21 November. Jack is a retired Plastic Surgeon at Galway University Hospital, 1989-2010. In 2005 he co-founded the charity, Irish Friends of Albania and he travels there twice a year with teams of medical volunteers to work in hospitals there. Since 2002 he has operated on hundreds of children and adults to improve and correct hand deformities and burn injuries.  Jack also leads free annual microsurgical training workshops in Albania, training their surgeons to provide better outcomes for their patients.  He fundraises year round, culminating in the annual Irish Friends of Albania Ball. He is a former Chair of the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons.   He is a published author with four plays, short stories and two collections of poetry.  In recognition of their work in transforming the Galway International Arts Festival John Crumlish as CEO and Paul Fahy as Artistic Director and Producer will both be conferred with honorary Doctor of Arts degrees on Wednesday, 22 November.     Galway International Arts Festival has become an event that has international significance, impact and reach; it has made an exceptional contribution to the culture, economy and intellectual life of Galway and Ireland; and it is leading the development of new forms of art in Ireland and globally. Through the development of a major partnership with NUI Galway since 2012, new opportunities have been created for artists and producers to build successful and sustainable careers in the west of Ireland.  - Ends- Biographies Jack McCannJack McCann was born in Rush, Co. Dublin and grew up in Malahide.  He qualified in Medicine in UCD in 1975 and Surgery RCSI in 1980 before training in Plastic Surgery in Dublin, Cork, UK, Australia and settling in Galway in 1989 as the first Consultant Plastic Surgeon in UCHG and in the West of Ireland. Jack has always been involved in voluntary work and community development. Whilst a student in UCD, he was founder and Chairman of the Malahide Youth Club and was on the local Red Cross team which won a number of All-Ireland competitions. In Galway, he was Chairperson of the Community Health Response Group seeking upgrading of University Hospital during the ‘nineties. He was Chairperson of the Fundraising Committee of Galway RNLI for over ten years and was voluntary medical officer to the crew for this period. He also chaired the Bushy Park Residents’ Association for 3 years. Jack is currently Chairperson of the Voluntary Management Committee of Clann Family Resource Centre in Oughterard. In 2003, Jack received Galway Rehab Person of the Year Award in recognition of his voluntary work. In 2002 Jack was involved in bringing Albanian children to Galway for treatment of burns and hand deformities. Irish Friends of Albania was subsequently founded by Jack and his wife Moya, and registered as a charity in 2005. Since then Jack has chaired the charity and was responsible for bringing surgical teams of doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel to Albania bi-annually until 2012, operating and teaching. He has helped in Kosovo since 2010 at out-patient clinics, surgery and by speaking at teaching conferences. The charity has supplied essential surgical and anaesthetic equipment to the University Hospital in Tirana and the charity’s surgical teams saw over 1,200 patients and operated on over 400. They brought 17 Albanian and Kosovar doctors and nurses to Ireland for training, facilitated by local hospitals. Since 2012 the emphasis has changed from operating to teaching and so the charity established and equipped a Microsurgery Training Laboratory in the hospital in Tirana which Jack visits twice yearly to give training courses; to date he has provided basic training in Microsurgery to 56 surgeons.   The charity fundraised locally in Galway with the help of wonderful volunteers. They were further supported by local hospitals, Irish Aid and Electric Ireland over the years. The charity also organised Irish teams of volunteer tradesmen to partially renovate 5 State-run orphanages and homes in Albania. Jack retired from hospital in 2010 but remains active in his community in Oughterard.   He has many interests including writing. He has published 3 collections of poetry and has written some plays.  Jack is married to Moya for 41 years, is a proud father of 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren who bring him great joy and happiness. John CrumlishJohn Crumlish is the CEO of Galway International Arts Festival. In his time as CEO he has overseen its development into one of Ireland’s best known cultural enterprises. In addition to presenting an annual festival with an attendance of over 200,000 and an economic impact on the local economy of €29.5 million the organisation has developed into a significant producer of new Irish theatre that tours nationally and internationally. A native of Carndonagh, Co. Donegal, he attended Carndonagh Community School, graduated from NUI Galway with a BA in Psychology, has an MA in Adult and Continuing Education from the University of Ulster and an MBS in Business Practice from the Irish Management Institute/University College Cork. Following a period teaching in Northern Ireland, he became closely associated with both Galway Arts Festival and Macnas in the 1990s, playing a number of different roles in their development and growth during that time.     He served as a member of the Arts Council from 2006 until 2011, a member of the Fáilte Ireland West Forum (2010-2013); a member of the Project Board of The Gathering (2012-2013) and served as chair of the successful Galway European Capital of Culture 2020 bid committee. He is married to Eithne Verling and they have three children, Tom, Luke and Sorcha. He was named a Galway Person of the Year in 2013 and was made a Fellow of the Institute by the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology in 2016. Paul FahyPaul Fahy is the Artistic Director of Galway International Arts Festival [GIAF] a position he has held since 2005. Prior to this he worked as a freelance arts consultant, publicist and producer from 2000-2005 working with Galway International Arts Festival; Macnas; Baboró; Rough Magic Theatre Company; The Abbey Theatre; The Arts Council of Ireland and with the Irish actor, Cillian Murphy. He programmed and produced the Cúirt International Festival of Literature, in 1998 and 1999 and was one of the key visual arts curators for Galway Arts Centre from 1990-1999.  He was the Consultant Programme Director with Kilkenny Arts Festival from 1999–2003 for whom he also directed and designed a major street theatre spectacle The Art of the Game.  Since being appointed Artistic Director of GIAF the Festival has become a producing-led festival forging close creative partnerships with Irish artists and producers most notably Enda Walsh, Hughie O’Donoghue, Olwen Fouéré, John Gerrard and Landmark Productions.  GIAF tours extensively, most recently to the Barbican, London; St. Ann’s Warehouse and Irish Arts Center, New York; Ireland’s National Theatre, the Abbey; and Dublin Theatre Festival all during 2017. The Festival has also toured regularly to the National Theatre of Great Britain, London; and to the Next Wave Festival, BAM, New York; Kennedy Center, Washington; Edinburgh Festival Fringe; Adelaide Festival, Perth Festival and Sydney Theatre Company.  Under Fahy’s tenure GIAF has worked with leading Irish and international visual artists and has designed and built major temporary art galleries in Galway.  Fahy has designed and created four theatre installations with Enda Walsh Room 303, A Girl’s Bedroom and Kitchen [which toured to New York as Rooms in May 2017] and Bathroom.   He studied art at the RTC Galway [now GMIT].

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Flag - A new taxi app designed for students will launch in Dublin City this December. The unique app is the only service in the world that allows a passenger to travel and pay for taxis with no phone, cash or bank card while ensuring the driver still gets paid. Flag originally started out as a college project called Dash while inventor Richie Commins was a final year Business Information Systems student at NUI Galway. Since graduating, Richie has combined business graduates and experienced engineers with taxi industry experience from the US and Romania, to upgrade the software into the version the App is today. The latest member recruited to the Flag team is the original founder of, Michael Newham. The app is available in app stores as ‘Flag – The Taxi App’. This is similar to other taxi apps that allow you to get a taxi, however a feature unique to Flag is what is called “The wallet-less feature” where users are required to upload a photo ID and create a personal digit pin code to secure an account. If a situation arises such as a user's phone is dead, the user simply flags a taxi off the street, gives the driver their name and enters the four digit pin on the driver app. The user’s photo appears on the driver’s phone to confirm identity before the fare begins. Payment is processed from the user’s pre-registered card as normal upon arrival at the user’s destination. The creative and innovative app boasts pin point location, tracking and accurate ‘estimated time of arrival’ as well as extra safety features such as the wallet-less payment (the only taxi app in the world to provide this service). Richie has gained support from Enterprise Ireland, Nissan, AIB and many other organisations. Richie said: “I was lucky to eventually get a Chief Technology Officer who manages our large team of engineers to get the app ready for drivers and passengers in both iOS and android. When I started this in college we didn’t even have an app for the students.” An Garda Síochana also supported the project from the early days through their Campus Watch Programme at NUI Galway. Sergeant Pat Flanagan, Officer for Crime Prevention said: “The taxis that have integrated this app have really shown they care about passengers, and hopefully all taxis will soon be branded with the safety it brings.” The project has gathered an incredible momentum since the team were students. The team has decided to focus efforts on launching the upgraded app, Flag, in Dublin only. To show their gratitude for driver support and to encourage more drivers to see how good the app is, Flag will not be charging drivers any commission this Christmas. Flag plans to roll out across the country later in 2018. -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia at NUI Galway is hosting a number of experts in dementia from across the world this week to speak to early career researchers about issues in dementia care, and helping to grow capacity and leadership in the dementia sector in Ireland and internationally. The Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia carries out cutting edge research in economic and social areas to help improve the lives of people with dementia and their families. It is hoped that by generating evidence through research that the quality of life for people with dementia and their families can be improved, enabling them to remain living well at home for as long as possible. It is estimated that there are about 55,000 people living with dementia today in Ireland. This number is likely to double in the next 15 years to over 100,000 people. The total economic and social cost of dementia in Ireland is estimated to be just under €2 billion per year. Most people with dementia live in the community where access to services and supports often depend on where the person is living. Research shows that better services and supports in the community can enable people with dementia to remain living at home for longer. Issues of how to best respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population were addressed by the Citizen’s Assembly earlier this year. Professor Eamon O’Shea, Director of the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia, addressed the Assembly last June and spoke about the sustainability of the care system in the longer term for an ageing population. Research conducted at the Centre will address some of the questions raised by the Citizen’s Assembly in relation to the care of older people in Ireland, particularly in relation to the funding of long-term care. Engagement with people with dementia, their families and carers is central to the work at the Centre. Professor O’Shea describes the importance of this engagement as, “the views of the person with dementia and their families on the personal experience of living with the disease are key to the success of the work at the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia and can change how we approach and think about the disease.” There are a number of research projects currently underway that engage with the person with dementia and their families. The Centre at NUI Galway is establishing a Dementia Advisory Forum which will bring together people with dementia and their families to inform the research. Dr Patricia Carney, a researcher at the Centre describes the Dementia Advisory Forum as, “a platform to give people with dementia a voice who want to help set the agenda for dementia research in Ireland and bring about change.” If you would like to take part in any aspect of the research or find out more about the ongoing work at the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia, visit: -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

MaREI Researchers help win €9.39 million funding for GENCOMM project  An energy sustainability project in which NUI Galway is a key partner has been given the green light after winning an Interreg North-West Europe funding bid for the €9.39 million GENCOMM Project. GENCOMM aims to answer the energy sustainability challenges facing remote communities across North-West Europe through production and storage of renewable hydrogen. The project will build three pilot facilities fuelled by solar, wind and biomass energy sources to measure their ability to produce and store hydrogen. GENCOMM will assess hydrogen’s viability as a sustainable energy solution for heat, power and fuel for communities across North-West Europe. The NUI Galway research, led by MaREI (Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy) funded Investigator Dr Rory Monaghan, are charged with ensuring the long-term impact of GENCOMM by developing H2GO, an online tool to support investment decisions in hydrogen storage, and establishing CH2F, a community hydrogen energy forum, to drive the adoption of the technology. The project is led by Belfast Metropolitan College, and is one of the largest EU projects ever secured by a lead partner from Northern Ireland. On being awarded the Interreg North-West Europe Programme funding, Dr Monaghan, said: “With its exposure to the power of the Atlantic Ocean, NUI Galway and MaREI are at the centre of North-West Europe’s richest concentration of renewable energy potential. Storing that energy, converting it to a useful form, and transporting it to where it is needed are some of the biggest barriers to a sustainable future. By building pilot plants and applying the knowledge we gain through NUI Galway’s activities, GENCOMM aims to make a major impact on the viability of renewable energy.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “The scope of the project and the size of the award are testament to the strength and innovative nature of the project and the high calibre of partner organisations, as we seek to work together to deliver hydrogen-based solutions that will help address energy sustainability challenges to communities across North-West Europe.” NUI Galway is working in conjunction with nine universities and companies across Europe to deliver the GENCOMM Project, including: Belfast Metropolitan College, University Institut National des Sciences Appliquées Rouen Normandie, IZES gGmbH, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, ENSICAEN – CNRS, Pure Energy Centre Scotland, and three further companies in Northern Ireland; Viridian, TK Renewables, and Williams Industrial Services. The NUI Galway GENCOMM team from the College of Engineering and Informatics comprises of Dr Rory Monaghan (Leader), Dr Padraig Molloy and Dr Ed Curry (Co-Leads), Mr Arya Gunawan (PhD Researcher), and Ms Rjaa Ashraf and Mr Wells Tang (Masters researchers). For more information on Project GENCOMM, visit: -Ends-  

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Novel approach to help breast cancer patients’ post-mastectomy wins award An innovative approach to help breast cancer patients post-mastectomy has been awarded the Inaugural Allergan Innovation Award at NUI Galway. Dr Niamh O’Halloran, a researcher with the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, received the award for her project which seeks to use the body’s own cells to avoid complications with implants. The Allergan Award for Innovation, valued at €6,000 provides funding to accomplished scholars who wish to advance their innovative research studies in the field of Life Sciences. The winner was chosen from a competitive field of applicants among the postgraduate and PhD student community at NUI Galway. Allergan, headquartered in Dublin, is a global pharmaceutical company and a leader in a new industry model, Growth Pharma. The company with commercial operations in 100 countries worldwide, is focused on developing, manufacturing and commercialising branded pharmaceuticals, devices and biologic products for patients around the world. Allergan operates four facilities in Ireland, employing 1,800 people, two manufacturing operations, one in Westport, Co. Mayo and one in Clonshaugh, Co. Dublin, a medical technology company ZELTIQ Aesthetics in Galway, and an international supply chain office in Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin. Speaking about the award Paul Coffey, Vice President and Plant Manager of Allergan, Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with NUI Galway for this year’s Allergan Innovation Award and congratulations to Dr Niamh O’Halloran. To mark 40 successful years of business in Ireland, we wanted to build on our longstanding relationships with communities through providing educational support to universities and colleges around the country, by reaffirming our commitment to the future of Life Sciences.  We wanted to recognise and support scholars who have excelled through innovation research in this field. We hope that this Innovation Award will inspire more students who wish to establish themselves within the field. Collaborating with a prestigious university, such as NUI Galway is an exciting initiative for all involved, and we look forward to the positive results and experiences it will bring for students and for our industry.” Breast cancer is a global pandemic, with the National Cancer Registry predicting that by 2020 there will be approximately 5,000 new cases in Ireland per annum. Despite advances in oncology and the dawn of the molecular era in cancer diagnosis and treatment, an estimated forty per cent of breast cancer patients require mastectomy. Immediate breast reconstruction has become an integral part of breast cancer care, affording psychosocial and aesthetic benefits. However, implants are not without their limitations and the response of the immune system to foreign materials in the human body can lead to complications. Dr Niamh O’Halloran from the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “We want to develop a method of coating implants with a gel biomaterial which incorporates elements of the patient’s own fat tissue. The hydrogel is based on hyaluronic acid, most commonly seen these days in skin creams and beauty products. The patient’s own cells will grow on the gel, thus reducing scar tissue formation which leads to implant related complications.” “The aim is to develop biocompatible prosthetic implants preventing complications such as capsular contracture, implant extrusion and implant rupture and will negate the requirement of regular implant exchange. We hope this will reduce patient morbidity and operation costs significantly over time. A biocompatible implant coated with cellular tissue will also result in improved cosmetic outcomes for the patient, giving the patient a better quality of life”, added Dr O’Halloran. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, commented: “Allergan are supporting a truly innovative concept here, which although at early stages of development, holds out real hope for patients. The calibre of applications for this award was very high, and I congratulate Dr O’Halloran on her success.” Dr Niamh O’ Halloran graduated from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway in 2014 and took up a research post with the University’s School of Medicine in 2015. She has also been awarded the Future Projects Prize at the 2017 Society of Academic and Research Surgery Annual Meeting for her work on the use of tissue engineering strategies in breast reconstruction post-mastectomy. -Ends-  

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Professor John Laffey, Investigator at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices and Professor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at NUI Galway, has published a paper in The British Medical Journal outlining strategies to improve recognition, awareness and diagnosis of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is an acute inflammatory lung injury, often caused by infection, which can result in respiratory failure. Around 40% of patients with ARDS do not survive, and others experience serious long-term health consequences. No drug treatments exist for ARDS, however good supportive management and careful support of organ function reduces harm and improves outcomes for patients. ARDS is incorrectly considered to be rare, in particular by clinicians less familiar with intensive care units. Delayed or failed recognition of ARDS leads to delayed treatment or no treatment at all and under-recognition is linked to under treatment. The LUNG SAFE study (29,000 patients in 459 intensive care units in 50 countries), which was jointly led by Professor Laffey, allowed for retrospective diagnosis of ARDS by researchers using clinical data, independent of the treating clinicians. The study reported that 40% of cases of ARDS were not recognised at any time during a patient’s stay in the intensive care unit. Delayed diagnosis was the norm, with less than 30% of patients diagnosed on the first day that criteria were present. Although this evidence is new and compelling, the issue is not new, Professor Laffey, explains: “Failure to recognise ARDS leads to failure to use proven treatments, and this translates into higher chances of death, and a worse quality of life for patients who survive. Issues such as cognitive impairment, muscle wasting, and functional limitation in patients are some common consequences.” Diagnosis of ARDS relies on recognising patterns in patients with evolving illness and receiving complex care. The interpretation of chest radiography in ARDS can be poor, and substantial inter-observer variation has been documented. Further difficulties arise with the lack of consensus around a definition of ARDS. “Increased awareness of the condition among clinicians, patients and their relatives raises the likelihood of diagnosis. Over 20% of ventilated patients in intensive care units have ARDS, but it should be considered in any sick patient with respiratory distress, whether in the community, in an emergency department, or hospital ward. If we can detect these patients earlier, ideally on first presentation to the hospital, we can intervene earlier, and potentially improve outcome,” added Professor Laffey. The co-authors of the study from the University of Toronto were Professor Brian Kavanagh and Professor Cheryl Misak, an ARDS survivor. Evidence based strategies for improving outcomes for patients with ARDS are outlined in the paper, which is available at -Ends-

Friday, 24 November 2017

Margaretta D’Arcy has donated her papers and those of her late husband and playwright John Arden to NUI Galway. The archive throws new light on two pivotal but under-researched figures of 20th and 21st century Irish and British theatre. It also features strongly the activism of both Arden and D’Arcy. John Arden was one of the major dramatists of the twentieth century, with early plays such as Sergeant Musgrave's Dance (1960) helping to inaugurate a new era of politically engaged theatre in Britain at theatres like London’s Royal Court. During a long career of writing and activism, he published several plays and essays, and his novel Silence Among the Weapons was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1983. Margaretta D’Arcy is a major writer and cultural activist who has long campaigned on issues related to global peace, civil liberties, and equality. She is a member of Aosdána. Arden and D’Arcy together also co-authored many plays, including the celebrated Non-Stop Connolly Show, and have been major figures in the development of community-based and politically-focussed arts. Their papers are valuable not only from the perspective of theatre and literary Studies, but in terms of Irish and British social, political and cultural history.  This archive preserves not only the work of two eminent artists, but the history of a long-ranging and complex political and artistic collaboration. The political themes of their work in relationship to capitalism, industry, war and the legacies of colonialism remain timely and indeed urgent for scholars and theatre practitioners working today. The international dimension of their work (whether through collaborations with Welsh and Scottish theatre companies among others, their trip to India or their globally minded activism) further establishes NUI Galway and the West of Ireland as an international centre for the advancement of the study of theatre and drama. The collection consists of 314 boxes of archival material, as well as 35 linear metres of books, and covers all aspects of their lives, including family background, education, their writings and their activism. Highlights include detailed drafts of The Non-Stop Connolly Show and the memoirs of Margaretta, including her protests at Armagh Jail, Greenham Common and Shannon Airport. There is a wealth of material on community activism from the local to the international, including Radio Pirate Woman and Galway Women’s Entertainment, Aosdána, Northern Ireland, Global Women’s Strike, and many more campaigns. Unique among the University’s collections as a record of writing, theatre and activism, it will add greatly to its holdings of cultural and political collections, including the John McGahern Collection, the Lyric Theatre/O’Malley Collection, the Siobhán McKenna Collection and the Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Collection. The University will mark the bequest of the Arden and D’Arcy archive on Friday 24 November in the O’Donoghue Centre for Theatre, Drama and Performance. Speakers at the launch of the archive will include Margaretta D’Arcy as well as Galway musician and cultural activist, Mary Coughlan. Finn Arden, son of Margaretta and John, will be among the attendees. A symposium titled Political Theatre in Britain and Ireland Since 1950: the Legacies of John Arden and Margaretta D’Arcy will be followed by a public interview with Margaretta D’Arcy. Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies Patrick Lonergan warmly welcomed the donation of these papers to the university. “John Arden and Margaretta D’Arcy’s archive will be of immense value for both teaching and research in this univeristy. Their achievements expose several blindspots in our understanding of the relationship between theatre and politics – especially relating to such issues as imperialism, community activism, socialism, and gender equality. Their commitment to co-authorship and to the use of theatre to achieve social justice offers new models for understanding how theatre can be made and understood. And fundamentally this archive will allow us to do the work of redressing the major neglect of both Arden and D’Arcy. Exciting times lie ahead for our students and researchers.” Dr Jim Browne reflecting on the legacy of Margaretta D’Arcy and John Arden said that they had made an enormous contribution over many decades to Irish society, to international cultural discourse and to political theatre.  Theirs are “voices of conscience that have questioned the orthodoxies of our time.  It is fitting that their archive will be based in NUI Galway.  Universities have always been places where differing opinions can be discussed and challenged.  This is important - perhaps never more so than today, when in an age of “fake news” universities need to remind themselves of the need for all valid and informed views to be heard.  Dissenting voices are a way of stress-testing the truth and challenging received opinion.  The lives and works of Margaretta Darcy and John Arden stand as inspiration to us in this regard.” Margaretta D’Arcy comments: “A veritable feast awaits those who will be attending the handover to NUI Galway of some of the archive materials of John Arden and myself on 24th November.  It is hoped that the entire collection, including audio and video material will be eventually housed there. The indefatigable Mary Coughlan,   Blues singer and participant in Arden/D’Arcy’s theatrical endeavours, will speak at the launch. There will also be a symposium on Irish and British Theatre since the 1950’s after which I will be interviewed by Maggie Ronayne from the Discipline of Archaeology at NUI Galway. The interview will cover the importance of looking at the Arden/D’Arcy archives with an archaeological, social and political slant.” John Cox, University Librarian, notes that “It is an honour to receive the papers of Margaretta D’Arcy and John Arden and to add them to our growing collection of archives in theatre and drama. This is a very generous donation by Margaretta and I have no doubt that there will be great interest in the papers as a source of new insights into her cultural activism. They will be a great resource for academic staff and students at the University and we will also welcome visitors to use them.” ENDS

Thursday, 23 November 2017

NUI Galway Ryan Institute scientists lever over €800,000 in research infrastructure investment by Marine Institute The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, this week announced the awarding of grant funding through the Marine Institute to research projects in specialist marine equipment to six scientists from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute. The funding awards of over €800,000 will strengthen the Ryan Institute’s research capabilities in a range of research areas including aquaculture, climate change, biogeochemistry and using autonomous systems for upper ocean profiling. The funding grants have been made in the area of specialist marine equipment and small infrastructure from the Marine Institute. Minister Michael Creed, said: “I’m delighted to announce these funding grants which herald the next step forward for many new projects in our marine sector. The funding for marine research equipment helps to target a gap in funding that exists between supports available to Higher Education Institutes via the HEA and support from Ireland’s development agencies such as SFI and Enterprise Ireland. These grants will allow the marine research and innovation community to purchase specialist equipment needed to support their current and future research activities.” Welcoming the funding awards, Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Research infrastructure funding is critical for Ireland’s research community to maintain and advance its international competitiveness. Such infrastructure will foster research collaboration and partnerships with both public and private sector partners, nationally and internationally. The Ryan Institute’s research community really welcome this infrastructure funding support from the Marine Institute, which provides the basis to further develop our research excellence and socioeconomic impact in marine and aquatic sciences and innovation.” Marine Institute Research Infrastructure Investment Award Recipients   Professor Peter Croot - Analysis of Trace Metals in Seawater for Marine Research Professor Charles Spillane - Smart Aquaculture Feeding Trials Research Infrastructure Dr Audrey Morley - Particle Size Analyser for Transdisciplinary Research in Marine Sciences Professor Olivier Thomas - Marine Chiroptics Professor Paul Murphy - Continuous Flow Chemistry Equipment for Sugar Research Professor Peter Croot - Analysis of climate relevant gases in seawater Dr Brian Ward - Next generation of Autonomous Upper Ocean Profiling Platform -Ends-

Thursday, 23 November 2017

The winners of the nationwide ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition were announced during science week 2017 which concluded nationally last week. Winners of the 2017 awards were Sooey Primary School, Co. Sligo, Davitt College in Castlebar, Co. Mayo and Corofin Foróige group from Corofin, Co. Galway. 25 fifth and sixth class students from Sooey National School dramatised the battle invading bacteria face when they meet the immune system in their video ‘How the Immune System Works’. A group of 11 Davitt College Transition Year students explored the use of forensics in the entertaining whodunnit ‘The Death of Paul Donovan’ while five members of the Corofin Foróige group used animation to produce ‘The Immune System Simplified’. Based in NUI Galway and supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, the Community Knowledge Initiative and the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, ReelLIFE SCIENCE challenges Irish schools and community to communicate science via engaging and educational short videos. This challenge was met by more than 1,500 students in 83 schools and groups around Ireland, producing over 180 short science videos on a range of topics in both English and Irish. Selecting the best videos to share the €5000 prize fund were Trinity College Dublin Professor and Royal Society Fellow Luke O’Neill, BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year 2017, Shane Curran from Terenure College Dublin and NASA Spacecraft systems engineer and aspiring astronaut Amber Gell, who said “all of these students should feel like winners, because they did an exceptional job with their entries. I had a lot of fun watching the videos and learning more about their favourite science concepts. You’re only as good as your competition and the ReelLIFE SCIENCE competition clearly brings out the best in us. It stirs a healthy public interest in science and inspires so many great minds to compete.” Other prize winners included: St Hugh’s National School from Dowra, Co. Leitrim Gaelscoil Riabhach from Loughrea, Co. Galway Coláiste Muire, Ennis, Co. Clare Coláiste Lorcáin, Castledermot, Co. Kildare Olivia Ng from the BrainMatTrain programme Keira Corcoran from the Westside Youth Project, Galway City All videos can be viewed at  and will be shown to the general public as part of the Galway Science and Technology Exhibition, held in NUI Galway on Sunday, 26 November. Since launching in 2013, over 8,500 students in 300 schools and community groups around Ireland have taken part in ReelLIFE SCIENCE. The videos produced have been viewed more than 100,000 times in over 100 countries worldwide. ReelLIFE SCIENCE is organised by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell and a team of 100 science communication enthusiasts, in collaboration with the Cell EXPLORERS outreach programme from the NUI Galway School of Natural Sciences. Dr O’Connell said: “We were thrilled again this year with the reaction to the competition, particularly with so many new schools and community groups getting involved for the first time. We are always inspired by the knowledge and creativity shown by the participants in their videos and their passion for science and technology is clear to see. Congratulations to everyone who took part.” -Ends-

Thursday, 23 November 2017

EY announced its sponsorship of TechInnovate, an entrepreneurship development fellowship at NUI Galway. During the 10-month programme, teams of three entrepreneurs will identify real customer issues and develop innovative solutions to address these issues. As well as helping employees drive innovation and change inside established technology companies on the western seaboard, TechInnovate aims to produce more entrepreneurs who will enable innovations in local start-ups. The full-time stipend supported programme combines teams of high-calibre Fellows from either an engineering, business or design graduate background. Team members are chosen to contribute their skills, knowledge and expertise as part of a multidisciplinary Fellowship team. Dr John Breslin, Director of TechInnovate, and lecturer at NUI Galway, said: “TechInnovate’s entrepreneurship development process starts with a multidisciplinary team of professionals, the engineer, businessperson and designer, who select a market for their initial idea or innovation, and then identify customer needs through extensive market research. The value created for the customer is defined, along with customer acquisition strategies and product/company economics. This is followed by a plan for product design, development and scaling. Our Fellows will be able to apply the skills they learn over and over again.” Commenting on the sponsorship, Paraic Waters, Tax Director, EY Galway, said: “EY is delighted to sponsor TechInnovate. Having established our Galway office in June 2016, we have seen the valuable work NUI Galway is doing to promote entrepreneurship up close. There are some incredibly exciting and successful entrepreneurs operating on the western seaboard. We are very proud to have two winners in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 from Connaught with Galway’s Evelyn O’Toole, founder of CLS winning the industry category and Mayo’s Harry Hughes from Portwest winning the international category and the overall prize.” “We have seen a surge in the number of start-ups and large multinationals locating in Galway in recent years. With a strong network of third level institutions, relatively low costs and the quality of life on offer for employees, the West of Ireland is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities to attract investment arising from events such as Brexit. Programmes like TechInnovate also help to foster a friendlier ecosystem for entrepreneurs”, Mr Waters added. As part of the sponsorship of TechInnovate and EY’s ongoing commitment to developing entrepreneurship, EY will deliver a number of knowledge-sharing workshops during the programme. This will include sessions on developing entrepreneurial expertise and crucial business skills from a number of EY experts. EY staff will also be trained in the TechInnovate process and bring the skills they learn back to the business to help drive innovation. Galway has long been recognised as a hub for business and innovation, with the county ranked as one of the top incubator locations for medical devices worldwide, and the home to some of the world’s leading ICT and Life Science companies. The talent developed in programmes like TechInnovate will add to this. TechInnovate is a joint initiative from the College of Engineering and Informatics and the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway. The programme is supported by EY, the Galway University Foundation, NUI Galway, and the Western Development Commission. -Ends-

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Neuroscientists at NUI Galway have made a breakthrough in regenerative medicine approaches to the neurodegenerative condition Parkinson’s disease. The research was published today (22 November) in the Nature journal, Scientific Reports. Parkinson’s is a condition that primarily affects a person’s ability to control movement leading to a progressive deterioration in ability. The symptoms of the condition are caused by the degeneration and death of brain cells that regulate movement. Brain repair for Parkinson’s involves replacing the dead cells by transplanting healthy brain cells back into the brain, but the widespread roll-out of this therapy has been hindered by the poor survival of the implanted cells. The research, carried out by a team at the Galway Neuroscience Centre and CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway, has shown that the survival of the transplanted cells is dramatically improved if they are implanted within a supportive matrix made from the natural material collagen. Commenting on the research, lead author of the research paper, Dr Eilis Dowd at NUI Galway, said: “The collagen provides the cells with a nurturing, supportive environment in the brain and helps them to survive the aversive transplant process.” The work will be presented at the upcoming Network for European CNS Transplantation and Restoration (NECTAR) conference which is being hosted by Dr Dowd in Dublin from the 6–8 December 2017. The event will feature leading scientists from the US, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, who will present their latest research on brain repair for Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s. This NUI Galway research was also presented recently at the International Neural Transplantation and Repair (INTR) conference in Port Douglas, Australia by Niamh Moriarty, the PhD student working on the project. Niamh was awarded a highly competitive Travel Award from the Campaign for Alzheimer’s Research in Europe which enabled her to present her work at this leading international event. The research was recently featured in the short documentary Feats of Modest Valour, produced through CÚRAM’s Science on Screen programme. The film won the coveted Scientist Award at the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York in October, and was screened on RTÉ One for Science Week 2017. The documentary is available to watch on the RTÉ Player until 11 December 2017. This research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and a Government of Ireland Irish Research Council PhD Scholarship to Niamh Moriarty. -Ends-