Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Leading researchers from across Europe will discuss findings from the latest research into aspects of gender and employment at a conference in NUI Galway from 6-7 September. The conference, jointly hosted by the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway, highlights the advantages of analysing gender and work issues across an individual’s entire life time. Entitled ‘Gender and Employment in Europe across the Lifecourse’, the event is an interim conference of Research Network 14 of the European Sociological Association (ESA). Some of the key issues to be discussed include: The gendered impact of recession and austerity budgets on pensions, employment and poverty. An exploration of the relationship between care provision and labour force participation. The implications of extending working life. In the current economic environment, the conference aims to contribute to policy debates on the restructuring of the welfare state and provide rich empirical evidence on the consequences of such restructuring. The plenary address will be given by Professor Nicky le Feuvre, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Professor le Feuvre is currently leading several research projects on gender and the labour market, with a particular focus on the transformation of gender inequalities from a comparative European perspective. She has published widely on the feminization of a number of occupations (doctors, lawyers, academics, domestic workers) in the UK and France and is currently working on the employment experiences of male and female seniors (50 years+) in Switzerland.  The conference will take place in CA110 in the JE Cairnes Building, NUI Galway. The event is supported by the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy, the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, Global Women’s Studies, the School of Political Science and Sociology, Gender Arc and the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast. -ends-

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

NUI Galway’s Discipline of Spanish will run a series of Mexican themed performances and talks on Saturday, 8 September as part of the San Patricio Mexican-Irish Festival in Clifden. From 2-4pm members of the public will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in talks such as: An Introduction to the Mexican Revolution and Art and the Revolution by Dr Lorraine Kelly; The Novelist Juan Rulfo and the Mexican Revolution by Professor Bill Richardson; and a Performance of some Corridos, Songs from the Revolution by Yolanda Reyes and Ivan Kenny. At 5pm, there will be a special screening of the famous Mexican film El Violin, introduced by Ivan Kenny. Author and poet, Dr Michael Hogan will present a talk on The San Patricios Batallion: the Irish Soliders of Mexico at 2pm on Sunday, 9 September. NUI Galway’s Moore Institute, in collaboration with the Discipline of Spanish and the Mexican Embassy, are giving the public another opportunity to listen to Dr Hogan’s talk. Taking place in the Moore Institute Seminar Room on Monday, 10 September, at 4pm, the talk will be followed by a launch of Dr Hogan’s new book, The Irish Soliders of Mexico. Running from 7-12 September the five-day San Patricio Mexican-Irish Festival celebrates the life of John Riley of Clifden, the leader of the San Patricios Battalion. Professor Bill Richardson, Head of Spanish at NUI Galway, emphasised the unique quality of this link between Mexico and the West of Ireland: “The story of John Riley and his comrades in the San Patricios Batallion is one of a fascinating adventure and reflects the courage and commitment of those Irish people who sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom in an adopted land, thousands of miles from their home. Students and staff in Spanish are looking forward with great excitement to Dr Hogan’s lecture and to our involvement in this festival.” For more details on the San Patricio Mexican-Irish Festival visit www.clifden2012.org. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

NUI Galway’s eleventh annual Volunteering Fair will take place on Wednesday, 26 September in the Bailey Allen Hall, from 1-5pm. With over 2,000 students, staff and members of the general public expected to attend, the Fair will be officially opened by Galway City Mayor, Councillor Terry O'Flaherty. Over 80 charities and community organisations will showcase the wide range of volunteer opportunities in Galway. The Fair is part of a week-long celebration of volunteering at NUI Galway, the culmination of which will coincide with the National Day of Volunteering on Friday, 1 October. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “The student volunteering programme ALIVE has been supporting and enabling students to engage in the Galway city community for ten years and we extend a thank you to our community partners which have hosted students through hundreds of meaningful volunteering opportunities. Students are actively seeking volunteering prospects with homework clubs in local schools, fundraising for national charities, befriending people with a disability, or volunteering abroad. Students benefit enormously from getting involved and gain valuable experience, while bringing energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.” Exhibitors at the Volunteering Fair will include: RehabCare, Gorta, Goal, COPE Galway, Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland, Age Action, Irish Wheelchair Association, Blue Tea Pot, Child of Haiti and Music for Galway. Ms Tansey added: “We are delighted to not only welcome community organisations to highlight their work and opportunities for volunteers but also to welcome members of the public onto campus.” ALIVE - A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience – was established by the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway to harness, acknowledge and support the contribution the University students make to Galway by volunteering. Through this programme students can access an online database of volunteer opportunities. The programme also includes a series of workshops to help students make the most of their volunteering experience. At the end of the academic year students can apply for an ALIVE Certificate which is awarded by NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne. To date over 7,000 students have been recognised for their volunteering commitment within a variety of pathways, enabling NUI Galway to become a role model in promoting skills related to democratic participation and civic engagement amongst the student body. To book a stand or for further information, please contact the ALIVE office on 091 493823 or email alive@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 3 September 2012

CERN, the world's leading laboratory for particle physics will bring ‘Accelerating Science’, its flagship travelling exhibition exclusively to Galway this month in partnership with the Galway Science & Technology Forum and sponsored by Boston Scientific. NUI Galway and GMIT with assistance from Science Foundation Ireland are also participating in this exciting Exhibition by providing physics experts for Facilitated Tours. The announcement was made at Boston Scientific Galway, the Exhibition’s sponsor, today (Monday, 3 September). This unique Scientific Exhibition is coming exclusively to Galway from CERN, Geneva, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for fundamental physics and scientific research. The exhibition will open from 16 September to 2 November at Leisureland, Salthill, Galway and will take visitors on an extraordinary journey on which they will learn about the History of the Universe, activate a model of the Large Hadron Collider, understand how a particle detector works and see what happens when particles collide at almost the speed of light!  ‘Accelerating Science’ is suitable primarily for students aged between 11 and 18 years. The exhibition is available exclusively for Secondary School tours from Monday to Friday and is open to the public at weekends and during midterm break. Teachers and members of the public are encouraged to prebook their place on www.eventelephant.com/galwayscience. Commenting at the announcement Mike O’Flynn, Managing Director and Vice President of Operations, Boston Scientific Galway said: “We’re delighted to support this unique exhibition. It’s essential for our future success that we encourage the next generation to take up science, technology and maths-based subjects at school.  This exhibition is aimed at doing just that - inspiring budding young scientists and engineers of tomorrow to make a big bang with their career.” Speaking from CERN, Geneva Dr Rolf Landua, Head of Education and Public Outreach said:  “The first time that a CERN Exhibition comes to Ireland just happens to be when the elusive Higgs Boson might have been discovered. The Exhibition is particularly suited for school students from 11-18 years, their teachers and their parents. It shows how CERN’s researchers try to find out more about the laws of Nature, the origin of the Universe, the LHC and the huge particle detectors. I am looking forward to attending the official opening of the CERN Exhibition on Sunday, 16 September at Leisureland, Galway.” Welcoming the arrival of CERN’s “Accelerating Science” to Galway Professor Tom Sherry, Dean of Science at NUI Galway added: “It is a real coup that Ireland is hosting the CERN Exhibition in Galway. The Exhibition will help us build on the current groundswell of interest in science and the public understanding of the role physics plays in our everyday lives. Physics is the fundamental science which helps us to understand naturally occurring phenomena in the world around us and enables Irish Physicists to apply those phenomena to benefit mankind. Many technologies, including MRI scanners and sat-nav systems, owe their existence to fundamental physics research. Indeed, the fundamental laws of physics find application in almost every branch of science, engineering and technology.” Tom Hyland, Chairman of Galway Science & Technology Forum and coordinator of the ‘Accelerating Science’ Exhibition, said: “We are delighted to be able to bring this fantastic exhibition to Galway. This is a wonderful opportunity for young students to engage with science in a fun and interactive way; the exhibition will inform students about the Higgs Boson and the Big Bang Theory. This is a unique opportunity for all second level students, their teachers and indeed their parents to visit this truly exciting Exhibition from CERN, here in Galway over a seven week period.” CERN’s flagship Exhibition will educate those curious about the origins of our universe, the nature of the particles from which we are all made and the power of fundamental science. Setup in five modules, ‘Accelerating Science’ takes the visitor through the early-21st-century scientific adventure and discover how fundamental science has changed the world, as we know it.  Starting with the Big Bang, which explores the world’s largest scientific experiment, the particles, the mysteries of the universe and the LHC’s (Large Hadron Colliders) exploration of matter guide. For school bookings visit www.eventelephant.com/galwayscience or for general enquiries contact galwayscience.events@gmail.com or visit www.galwayscience.ie Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. -Ends-

Thursday, 2 August 2012

NUI Galway has teamed up with Bank of Ireland to introduce a new College Finance Loan to students and their parents. College Finance is an easy and affordable way for parents/guardians to cover the cost of University tuition from September. A new loan scheme from Bank of Ireland, College Finance enables parents/guardians of full-time undergraduate students to borrow the cost of the Student Contribution Charge, which is currently €2,250 and applies to all Undergraduate Degree courses. The loan is offered at a preferred rate for the length of the course, for up to five years. Once the course is completed the standard Graduate loan interest rate applies and the loan is repaid over three years. All applications must be received by the Bank of Ireland by 31st October 2012. The College Finance scheme is designed to give parents/guardians and students peace of mind as the full loan, for the duration of the course, is approved up front. NUI Galway is one of 25 Higher Education Institutions participating in the new Loan scheme, and only parents/guardians of students attending participating institutions are eligible to apply. Commenting on the Loan scheme, President Jim Browne of NUI Galway, said: “The cost of Third Level education has risen steadily over the last four years and, in the current difficult economic climate, we are aware that many parents and students are increasingly struggling to make ends meet. The Bank of Ireland College Finance Scheme is a welcome development which will help families to support their child’s education, ensuring that access to Higher Education remains open to as many students as possible.” Donal Flynn, Regional Manager, Bank of Ireland, said: “Bank of Ireland is proud to be able to deliver meaningful products and services to Ireland’s students and graduates. We are very conscious that in the current economic climate Ireland’s future generation of employees need initiatives such as this to enable them upskill for a changed environment. We look forward to working with NUI Galway to provide finance to enhance their skills and their prospects for their future careers.” Ends

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

NUI Galway Lecturer in Geography, Dr John Morrissey, is among fifteen higher education staff representing six different institutions recognised as exemplifying excellence in teaching at the annual National Academy for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) awards. The award presentations will take place at a special ceremony in Dublin in September. Now in its fifth year, the NAIRTL awards recognise higher education teachers who demonstrate outstanding dedication to their teaching and have made an exceptional impact on student learning. This year’s winners are no exception and were chosen from thirty-one detailed submissions from fourteen different Higher Education Institutions across Ireland. The 2012 winners represent disciplines as diverse as Business, Chemistry, Geography, the Humanities, Paediatrics, and Physical Sciences, and were nominated by senior staff in their institution to go forward for the highly competitive award. Dr Morrissey is a Lecturer in Geography and Director of the MA in Environment, Society and Development at NUI Galway. His research interests are in geopolitics and post-conflict development, which he has published on widely. He was an IRCHSS Fellow in 2007/2008. His teaching is driven by a passion for engaging his students and to this end he is a keen advocate of both field-based learning and technology-enhanced learning. In 2011, Dr Morrissey won NUI Galway’s President’s Award for Teaching Excellence and in 2012 he completed an MA in Academic Practice at NUI Galway. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “It is great news that Dr Morrissey has been recognised by NAIRTL as an exemplary teacher. NUI Galway has a successful record at the NAIRTL awards, with awards being presented to our lecturers each year since the formation of NAIRTL. This is a huge achievement and a testament to the quality of nominations put forward by this University. Dr Morrissey was a recipient of our internal awards for teaching excellence in 2010-11.  This scheme recognises the outstanding efforts academic staff make to ensure NUI Galway students receive the highest quality learning experience. We look forward to continued collaboration with NAIRTL and to further success in the national awards scheme in 2013.” NAIRTL was established in 2007, and its vision is one where research and teaching go hand in hand. Previous recipients of the National Award for Excellence in Teaching include senior and junior staff members from thirteen different Higher Education Institutions in Ireland. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The universities of Ireland*, North and South, will jointly confer an honorary Doctorate of Laws (LLD) on Charles F. "Chuck" Feeney, founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies on 6 September next. This is the first time such an honour will have been conferred jointly by all the Universities on the island of Ireland.  The universities are coming together to honour Chuck Feeney’s remarkable contribution to Irish society, and in particular to the universities.  Chuck Feeney’s philanthropic purpose in Ireland has been to create a brighter future and a better society for the people of Ireland. He believes that one way to achieve this is to enable Ireland to become a full participant in the knowledge society and to compete in the knowledge economy. The Atlantic Philanthropies, which he founded in 1982, identified Irish universities, which of their nature are devoted to the transmission of knowledge and the generation of new knowledge, as institutions central to this purpose. Since 1990, Atlantic has donated nearly €770 million to Irish universities, North and South.  The physical manifestations of this philanthropy can be seen today most notably in the transformational research infrastructure which has been created on university campuses. This is providing a new generation of researchers with facilities their predecessors could only dream about. Human capital development in the universities had been supported through endowed chairs, scholarships and other forms of student support. University projects have also included support for new libraries and student on-campus housing and projects in the fields of health and ageing. In the longer term, the impact of the funding provided by Atlantic can be expected to be even more significant.  The Atlantic Philanthropies (http://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org) is a limited life foundation. It has announced that it will complete its grantmaking in 2016.  The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D., and Minister for Education & Skills, Ruairi Quinn T.D., will attend the conferring ceremony.  NUI is co-ordinating the special ceremony which will take place in Dublin Castle.   -ENDS- * The Universities of Ireland: Dublin City University; National University of Ireland; National University of Ireland, Galway; National University of Ireland, Maynooth; Queen’s University Belfast; Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin; University College Cork; University College Dublin; University of Limerick; University of Ulster.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway has announced details of a Special Entrance Maths Examination which will give students a second chance to pursue careers in Engineering and IT. The exam, which takes place on Wednesday, 22 August, is for students who achieve the CAO points for an undergraduate Engineering or IT Degree course at NUI Galway but have not met the Leaving Cert maths requirement. In advance of this exam NUI Galway will hold an intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the exam. This free course will run for five days, from Thursday, 16 August to Tuesday, 21 August (including Saturday). In addition to preparing students for the Special Entrance Examination, lecturers will demonstrate the relevance and application of mathematics to Engineering and will highlight the applicability of mathematics to some illustrative engineering examples. The aim of the preparatory course is to bridge the gap between the Leaving Certificate lower level and that required to be successful in the entrance exam; this will be achieved by tackling a variety of problems of increasing difficulty. Learning how to approach a problem and apply the knowledge available will be emphasised. For more than 20 years, NUI Galway has provided this special entrance exam to help applicants who did not achieve the required grade in Leaving Cert mathematics. Those who took either higher level or ordinary level maths in the Leaving Cert can apply for the exam. Students who pass this special entrance examination will be deemed to have satisfied the maths requirement and providing they have the necessary points, will receive an additional CAO offer at Round Two. Dr Edward Jones, Vice-Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “The Engineering and Informatics programmes at NUI Galway foster the development of analytical and problem solving skills, and mathematical ability is one of the fundamental tools of the trade. Every year, we have a number of students who haven’t achieved the necessary results in Leaving Cert maths taking advantage of our Special Entrance Maths Examination to demonstrate that they have the necessary ability in this area. Many of these students are high achievers who are ideally suited to engineering, and they go on to graduate and pursue successful careers because they were given the second chance which this Special Entrance Exam represents. The preparatory course in advance of the exam has also proved very popular with students taking the entrance exam.” The new four-story Engineering Building at NUI Galway, opened in July 2011 by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, accommodates some 1,100 students and 110 staff with its 400 rooms. The 14,250 sqm building is supporting an emerging generation of engineers engaged in a new wave of technologies, and embracing innovation and entrepreneurship. The building has been designed to be a teaching tool in itself, with exposed construction techniques and an array of ecological building methods. The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway offers a broad range of courses across the major engineering and informatics disciplines, including recently-introduced courses such as Energy Systems Engineering, which is designed in response to a growing demand for professional engineers to work in the energy sector, and Sports and Exercise Engineering, designed to develop the skills and expertise to design sports and exercise equipment of the future. NUI Galway also offers students an 'undenominated' entry route to Engineering which allows them to delay their choice of final discipline until the end of their first year of study. To apply for the Special Maths Examination, or for further information, visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering/specialmaths.html. The deadline for applications for the examination is Friday, 17 August and photo ID will be required on the day of the exam. Those interested in the preparatory maths course and the examination should call 091 492101 or email engineeringandinformatics@nuigalway.ie . -ENDS-   Seans Eile á thabhairt ag OÉ Gaillimh do Mhic Léinn na hArdteistiméireachta trí Scrúdú Speisialta Matamaitice a Reáchtáil Tá Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice in OÉ Gaillimh i ndiaidh a fhógairt go mbeidh an Scrúdú Speisialta Iontrála Matamaitice, scrúdú a thugann seans eile do mhic léinn tabhairt faoi ghairm na hInnealtóireachta agus na Teicneolaíochta Faisnéise, ar bun arís i mbliana. Beidh an scrúdú ar siúl Dé Céadaoin, an 22 Lúnasa, agus tá sé dírithe ar mhic léinn a bhaineann na pointí cuí don CAO amach chun cúrsa céime san Innealtóireacht nó sa Teicneolaíocht Faisnéise a dhéanamh in OÉ Gaillimh ach nach bhfuil an marc atá riachtanach acu sa mhatamaitic. Beidh dianchúrsa ullmhúcháin ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh roimh ré dóibh siúd ar mian leo an scrúdú a dhéanamh. Beidh an cúrsa saor in aisce seo ar siúl ar feadh cúig lá ó Déardaoin, an 16 Lúnasa go dtí Dé Máirt, an 21 Lúnasa (Dé Sathairn san áireamh). Ní hamháin go n-ullmhófar daltaí don Scrúdú Speisialta Iontrála, ach léireoidh léachtóirí an tábhacht a bhaineann leis an matamaitic san Innealtóireacht agus an úsáid is féidir a bhaint as an matamaitic i samplaí innealtóireachta. Is é an aidhm atá leis an gcúrsa ullmhúcháin seo cur lena mbíonn foghlamtha ag na daltaí ag an ngnáthleibhéal san Ardteistiméireacht, le go n-éireoidh leo sa scrúdú iontrála matamaitice; déanfar seo trí thabhairt faoi fhadhbanna éagsúla ag leibhéil éagsúla deacrachta a réiteach. Cuirfear béim ar an gcaoi le tabhairt faoi fhadhb agus ar an gcaoi a gcuirfear an t-eolas atá ar fáil i bhfeidhm. Le breis agus scór bliain anuas, tá an scrúdú speisialta iontrála seo á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh chun cabhrú le hiarratasóirí nach bhfuil an grád riachtanach bainte amach acu sa pháipéar matamaitice san Ardteistiméireacht. Féadfaidh daoine a rinne an páipéar gnáthleibhéil nó an páipéar ardleibhéil Matamaitice san Ardteistiméireacht cur isteach ar an scrúdú. Má fhaigheann daltaí pas sa scrúdú seo beidh an riachtanas matamaitice sásaithe aige/aici agus gheobhaidh sé/sí tairiscint eile ón CAO i mBabhta a Dó má bhíonn na pointí cuí aige/aici. Dúirt an Dr Edward Jones, Leas-Déan Choláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice: “Ar na cláir Innealtóireachta agus Ionformaitice in OÉ Gaillimh cuirtear le scileanna anailíseacha agus le scileanna chun fadhbanna a réiteach. Ceann de na huirlisí is bunúsaí sa cheird seo cumas sa mhatamaitic. Gach bliain, bíonn roinnt daltaí againn nach bhfaigheann na torthaí riachtanacha sa mhatamaitic san Ardteistiméireacht agus tugann siad faoin Scrúdú Speisialta Iontrála Matamaitice chun a léiriú go bhfuil an cumas riachtanach acu sa réimse sin. Is daltaí uaillmhianacha go leor de na daltaí seo agus feileann an innealtóireacht go mór dóibh. Éiríonn leo céim a bhaint amach agus slí bheatha a chothú dóibh féin mar go bhfaigheann siad an dara deis leis an Scrúdú Speisialta Iontrála seo. Bíonn an-tóir ag daltaí a thugann faoin scrúdú iontrála ar an gcúrsa ullmhúcháin roimh ré chomh maith.” Tá 1,110 mac léinn agus 110 comhalta foirne mar aon le 400 seomra san Fhoirgneamh nua Innealtóireachta ceithre stór, a d’oscail an Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, i mí Iúil 2011. Tá an foirgneamh 14,250 méadar cearnach ina chnámh taca ag glúin nua innealtóirí a rachaidh i ngleic le teicneolaíochtaí nua agus a thabharfaidh faoin nuálaíocht agus faoin bhfiontraíocht. Is uirlis teagaisc ann féin an foirgneamh mar gur fágadh teicnící tógála gan chumhdach ann agus úsáideadh an iliomad modhanna tógála éiceolaíocha ann. Tá réimse leathan cúrsaí sna príomhdhisciplíní innealtóireachta agus ionformaitice á dtairiscint ag Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice in OÉ Gaillimh: cúrsaí amhail Innealtóireacht Chórais Fuinnimh a bunaíodh mar gheall ar an éileamh atá ar innealtóirí gairmiúla in earnáil an fhuinnimh agus Innealtóireacht Spóirt agus Aclaíochta, a bunaíodh le scileanna agus saineolas a fhorbairt le trealamh spóirt agus aclaíochta na todhchaí a dhearadh. Tá cúrsa ‘neamhainmnithe’ san Innealtóireacht ar fáil do mhic léinn in OÉ Gaillimh chomh maith ionas go mbeidh na mic léinn in ann a rogha disciplín a phiocadh ag deireadh na chéad bhliana. Chun iarratas a dhéanamh ar an Scrúdú Speisialta Matamaitice, nó chun eolas breise a fháil féach http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering/specialmaths.html. Is é spriocdháta na n-iarratas Dé hAoine, an 17 Lúnasa agus teastóidh cárta aitheantais a bhfuil grianghraf díot air ag an scrúdú. Ba chóir do dhuine ar bith a bhfuil suim aige/aici sa chúrsa ullmhúcháin agus sa scrúdú glao a chur ar 091 492101 nó ríomhphost a sheoladh chuig engineeringandinformatics@nuigalway.ie . -CRÍOCH-  

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

NUI Galway will once again open its dedicated First Year Student Hotline on Wednesday, 15 August. Now in its third year the hotline will be open to students, their parents and their advisers and will run until Friday, 28 September, 2012. The initiative, which was launched in summer 2010 and was the first of its kind across the sector, has been specially designed to help incoming first year students make the transition to third level education. With NUI Galway anticipating an intake of over 3,200 new students in September, a team of specially-trained students will service the hotline Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, and Saturday 18 and 25 August, 10am to 1pm. The availability of the hotline coincides with the period of frantic activity and decision making that immediately follows the release of the Leaving Certificate results. The hotline will be active throughout first year orientation on 8 and 9 September and will remain in service for two weeks after lectures begin on September 10, providing students with a place to direct any conceivable query they encounter as they embark on their journey to NUI Galway. The hotline team will provide an efficient, responsive service to callers and are expected to deal with numerous issues that are of concern to incoming first year students. Anticipated queries include: points requirements for courses; first round offers; registering as a student of the University; start dates; fees and accommodation options. A designated website for first years will also update on a daily basis detailing the information sought and fed through the new hotline. It will be a portal of specific information aimed at demystifying the first few weeks of university life. Stephen O’Dea, Admissions Officer at NUI Galway, says: “For every young person, the transition from second-level to third-level education represents a significant life-change, and whilst this is an exciting time, navigating your way through the change can sometimes be daunting. The First Year Student Hotline has been set up therefore to provide information, guidance and support to all individuals involved in the transition process and we invite students, parents and advisors to avail of this service to make the passage to NUI Galway as smooth as possible.” Students, parents and advisers can contact the First Year Student Hotline at 091 493999 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-students/. -ENDS- Beolíne ar fáil do Mhic Léinn na Chéad Bhliana in OÉ Gaillimh don Tríú Bliain as a chéile Beidh Beolíne Mhic Léinn na Chéad Bhliana ar fáil arís i mbliana in OÉ Gaillimh ó Dé Céadaoin, an 15 Lúnasa ar aghaidh. Don tríú bliain as a chéile, beidh mic léinn, a dtuismitheoirí agus a lucht comhairlithe in ann glaoch ar an mbeolíne go dtí Dé hAoine, an 28 Meán Fómhair 2012. Bunaíodh an tionscnamh seo, a seoladh i samhradh na bliana 2010 agus arbh é an chéad cheann dá leithéid é san earnáil seo, le cabhrú le mic léinn na chéad bhliana an t-aistriú a dhéanamh chuig an oideachas tríú leibhéal. Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag dúil go mbeidh breis agus 3,200 mac léinn nua ag tosú i mí Mheán Fómhair, agus, dá bhrí sin, beidh foireann de mhic léinn i mbun na beolíne ó Luan go hAoine, 9am - 6pm, agus Dé Sathairn, an 18 agus an 25 Lúnasa, 10am - 1pm. Beidh an bheolíne ar fáil sa tréimhse chorraitheach sin ina mbíonn ar dhaltaí cinneadh a dhéanamh i ndiaidh dóibh torthaí na hArdteistiméireachta a fháil. Beidh an bheolíne ar oscailt i rith thréimhse na seisiún eolais do mhic léinn na chéad bhliana, an 8 agus an 9 Meán Fómhair, agus beidh an líne ag feidhmiú ar feadh coicíse i ndiaidh an dáta a gcuirfear tús leis na léachtaí, an 10 Meán Fómhair. Beifear in ann a rá le mic léinn gur cheart dóibh glao a chur ar an mbeolíne má bhíonn ceist ar bith acu agus iad ag tabhairt faoina saol in OÉ Gaillimh. Cuirfidh foireann na beolíne seirbhís éifeachtach ar fáil dóibh sin a ghlaonn ar an líne agus meastar go mbeifear ag plé le hábhair go leor a bhíonn ag déanamh tinnis do mhic léinn na chéad bhliana. Meastar go mbeidh ceisteanna á gcur faoi na hábhair seo a leanas, i measc ábhair eile: na pointí atá riachtanach do chúrsaí ar leith; tairiscintí sa chéad bhabhta; clárú mar mhac léinn san Ollscoil; dátaí tosaithe; táillí agus roghanna lóistín. Tabharfar láithreán gréasáin ar leith atá ann do mhic léinn na chéad bhliana cothrom le dáta gach lá chomh maith. Beidh eolas le fáil ann faoi na ceisteanna a bhí ag na daoine a ghlaoigh ar an mbeolíne nua. Is tairseach eolais ar leith a bheidh sa láithreán gréasáin agus beidh sé de chuspóir aige cuid den cheo a bhaineann leis an gcéad chúpla seachtain ar an ollscoil a scaipeadh. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Stephen O’Dea, Oifigeach Iontrála in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is athrú mór saoil an t-aistriú ón dara leibhéal go dtí an tríú leibhéal do gach duine óg agus cé gur tréimhse iontach an tréimhse sin dóibh d’fhéadfadh sí a bheith crua chomh maith. Bunaíodh Beolíne Mhic Léinn na Chéad Bhliana chun eolas, treoir agus tacaíocht a thabhairt do gach duine bainteach leis an athrú saoil seo agus tá fáilte roimh mhic léinn, tuismitheoirí agus a lucht comhairlithe úsáid a bhaint as an tseirbhís chun cuidiú leis an aistear chuig OÉ Gaillimh.” Féadfaidh mic léinn, tuismitheoirí agus lucht comhairlithe teagmháil a dhéanamh le Beolíne Mhic Léinn na Chéad Bhliana ar 091 493999 nó dul go dtí http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-students/. -CRÍOCH-

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Agreement confirms global potential for biomaterial based research at NUI Galway The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway will formally sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a leading Chinese research institute the Tianjin International Joint Academy of Biotechnology and Medicine (TJAB) and a major Chinese medical technology company China Nucleon Medical Technology Group (CNPK). The official signing ceremony will take place at the Irish Embassy in Beijing today (Tuesday, 14 August) and will be attended by Minister for Health Dr James Reilly TD, the Irish Ambassador to China, Mr Declan Kelleher and President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne. TJAB is a new, state-of-the-art, 173 million dollar research facility in Northern China while CNPK is a pioneer in medical imaging for the Chinese pharmaceutical industry and has extensive facilities for clinical trialling and preclinical drug development throughout China. The memorandum is designed to encourage a mutually beneficial relationship which will facilitate the exchange of researchers, the exchange of academic information and the development of collaborative research projects. For the first project under this new agreement, NFB will be collaborating with its Chinese partners to develop a cutting edge polymer for cancer treatment. Dr Wenxin Wang, Principal Investigator at NFB, said: “This agreement has huge potential both for the development of new techniques and treatments and for the commercialisation and translation of existing technologies to the clinical environment. China is currently emerging as a major player in biomedical research, and establishing these relationships now will pay ever-increasing dividends in the future. NFB is well poised to engage opportunities in China.” The NFB is a Science Foundation Ireland funded strategic research cluster which has established a critical mass of biomaterials research in Ireland. Speaking of the singing of the Memoranda of Understanding in China, President Browne said: “Partnerships such as the one we sign today point to Ireland’s global strength in the Biomedical Sector and the importance of creating linkages which will be of mutual benefit to industry and enterprise both in Ireland and in China.  It also highlights the global opportunities which exist for Irish universities and research organisations.  NUI Galway is very pleased to see our partnerships in China grow and flourish in this way.   We must remember that the work of this partnership in commercial research will ultimately benefit countless cancer patients and sufferers.  Their future health depends on new and innovative treatments – such as those that will be addressed by this technology.”  Other existing partnerships between NUI Galway and Chinese institutes include collaborations with both Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Fourth Medical Military University Hospital in Xi’an which were signed as part of the Trade and Investment Mission to Shanghai and Beijing earlier this year led by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and Minister Richard Bruton TD. The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) based at NUI Galway signed collaborative agreements with the Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research, Bio-X Institutes and the Tangdu Neurosurgery & Neurology Hospital, research institutes based in two leading Chinese Universities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, REMEDI is Ireland’s leading research institute in the area of regenerative medicine and stem cell research. ENDS

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The research labs of Professor Charles Spillane (Genetics and Biotechnology Lab, NUI Galway) and Professor Michael J Kerin (National Breast Cancer Research Institute, Galway) have discovered a new genetic control system implicated in breast cancer. Their research findings have been published in the latest issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, which is considered the 7th most important scientific journal worldwide by the Eigenfactor ranking system. Professor Kerin highlighted that “Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer worldwide in women and while treatments and outcome are improving there is a compelling need for continued research into its cause and treatment. About 2700 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in Ireland each year. Advances in cancer biosciences research provide the basis for earlier diagnosis and new treatment regimes for breast cancer.” Both research labs are collaborating to investigate a new class of genes called microRNAs which produce small RNA molecules that can switch off other genes in normal and cancer cells.  Professor Spillane indicated that “There are over 1500 different types of these small microRNA genes identified so far in human cells and it is a major scientific challenge for us to understand which ones can make the difference between a normal and a cancer cell”. Working closely with Professor Spillane and Professor Kerin, molecular biologist Dr S. Duygu Selcuklu made the discovery that a particular microRNA gene called miR-9 acts to suppress tumour growth of breast cancer cells. In the project, the team also identified a new gene involved in breast cancer called MTHFD2 whose levels are kept down by the small RNA miR-9. However, when miR-9 levels go down in a cancer cell, levels of MTHFD2 go up and promote cancer cell development. Dr S. Duygu Selcuklu indicated that “Our findings are important as they show that high levels of miR-9 in cancer cells slows down tumour cell growth by down-regulating cancer promoting genes (oncogenes) such as MTHFD2. Measuring the levels of miR-9 and MTHFD2 in patient samples holds promise for use in the clinic as a novel biomarker in breast cancer diagnostics.” The research was funded by the Irish Cancer Society, the Health Research Board and the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) in Galway. ENDS

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Liverpool football legend, Ian Rush, was in Galway this week to launch the Liverpool FC Football Academy Summer Camp, hosted by NUI Galway. Throughout the Summer Camp children aged between 5 and 16 will received top class soccer skills advice and a taste of the Premier League at the Liverpool Football Academy in the University’s sports grounds in Dangan.  Speaking at the launch Ian Rush said: “At Liverpool FC we pride ourselves on producing world class players and delivering exciting football to our fans. We take time to develop our younger players to ensure that they reach their full potential by guiding them through extensive training programmes and nurturing their development. As a result we have produced some world-class players over the years, which is something we’re really proud of. We apply the same principles to all age groups, including those who attend our Soccer School programmes. Liverpool FC International Football Academies run throughout the UK and are growing internationally too. So no matter where in the world you take a course, you’ll train and be coached in exactly the same way – The Liverpool Way.” Kathy Hynes, Sports Development Officer at NUI Galway said: “NUI Galway is delighted to welcome the Liverpool FC official academy coaches to the University.  This is a wonderful event for everyone involved and we are delighted to provide our facilities to Liverpool FC and extending the University reach through sport into our local community.” This Academy school is held in association with the charity, Happy Children, which aims to improve the life of children in need. Brian Gallagher, from the charity Happy Children who coordinates all the soccer schools activity in Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be bringing the football academy to Galway as part of our expansion into all parts of Ireland with kids of all abilities, boys and girls, all welcome.” For more information on these soccer schools, please see www.liverpoolfc.tv/soccerschools. -ENDS-

Monday, 20 August 2012

The role of centres of excellence in treating cancer will feature during Ireland’s largest surgical conference next month.  Over 300 delegates are expected to attend the 37th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium which takes place from 7- 8 September. The annual event provides a platform for healthcare professionals to present their research and clinical work, and allows for the merging of both scientific and clinical information. It is named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900. Dr John R. T. Monson will deliver the Memorial Lecture on ‘Role of Centres of Excellence in Rectal Cancer’ on Friday, 7 September at 3pm.  Dr Monson is Chief of the Division of Colorectal Surgery and Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Centre, New York.  Dr Monson, who was born in Dublin, most recently served as a Professor of Surgery, Head of the Academic Surgical Unit, and Deputy Head of the School of Medicine at the University of Hull in England.  His areas of expertise include the use of minimally invasive technologies in colorectal cancer treatment, and he has also been involved in basic research into a broad range of cancer-related areas.  They include such diverse topics as evaluating the activity and effectiveness of antibodies in fighting cancer, and qualitative assessments of decision-making in cancer care.  Dr Monson led the development of laparoscopic colorectal surgery in the UK since 1990 and chaired the UK’s National Training Programme.  A lecturer and award-winning author of more than 220 peer-reviewed papers and several book chapters, he is a former Vice President of the British Association of Surgical Oncology, served on the Executive Council of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, and is a Fellow of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Professor John MacFie will deliver the State of the Art Lecture on ‘Training Surgeons for Future Service Requirements’ on Saturday, 8 September at 1pm.  Professor MacFie is Professor of Surgery at the Post Graduate Medical Institute, University of Hull.  He is current President of the Leeds Regional Surgical Club and President of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland.  In 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the James IV Surgical Foundation.  He holds Honorary Fellowships with the Royal College Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, Michael Kerin, who is hosting the event along with his colleague Professor Oliver McAnena, says: “Cutting-edge research is taking place here in Ireland, but this is an opportunity to engage with research from other countries, and combine that with the latest clinical knowledge. We are delighted to welcome Dr Monson and Professor MacFie to this annual event, and look forward to hearing their insights.” Surgery is a discipline within the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, teaching programmes for undergraduate medical students and postgraduate surgical trainees.  Next month will see the first intake into a new study programme, the Masters Degree in Surgery (MCh), which is designed to enhance the academic and professional development of surgical trainees by improving the level of scientific appreciation for evidence-based clinical practice. The venue for the 37th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium will be the Engineering Building at NUI Galway. For further information call 091-524390 or visit www.freyer.ie -ends-

Monday, 20 August 2012

NUI Galway will host the 2012 Sino-European Symposium on Environment and Health (SESEH 2012) starting today (Monday, 20 August) until Saturday, 25 August. The event will provide a platform for interaction between scientists, consultants, and public servants engaged in the multi-disciplinary area of environment and health. Over 200 delegates are expected to attend, including 100 experts from China. SESEH will, for the first time, provide an opportunity for a direct communication between environment and health experts from China and Europe, and help to foster and develop international collaborations. SESEH 2012 will discuss questions such as ‘Is the air we breathe still fresh?’, ‘Is the water we drink still clean?’ and ‘Is the food we eat still safe?’  “Safeguarding our environment and our health is one of the most challenging issues that we are currently facing”, explains Dr Chaosheng Zhang of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, and Chair of SESEH 2012. “With economic development and improvements in our quality of life, the environment around us is under pressure, and often deteriorating. As the second largest economy in the world, we have much to learn from and discuss with our Chinese colleagues.” Dr Zhang is an expert in Geographical Information Science (GIS) and is head of NUI Galway’s GIS Centre, based in the Ryan Institute.  GIS is generally understood as a computer-based mapping system, but its functions go far beyond that to solve sophisticated spatio-temporal problems in sectors of society, ranging from socio-economy, government, commerce and business, and environmental management. The conference is sponsored by NUI Galway, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Failte Ireland, Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) and GIS company SuperMap from China. -ENDS-

Monday, 20 August 2012

Following national trends, points for NUI Galway’s courses has seen a dramatic increase of 51% this year. Demand for Science, Medicine, IT and Engineering have all soared in the CAO first round offers from NUI Galway, with sights firmly fixed on the jobs markets in these areas. Medicine at NUI Galway has seen a substantial increase in demand across all courses*, in particular Midwifery, up 30 points to 450 and Psychiatric Nursing degree increasing 25 points in 2012. NUI Galway’s Undenominated Bachelor of Engineering and Civil Engineering courses have increased from 400 points in 2011 to 430. Electronic and Computer Engineering has also jumped 40 points to 445 this year. Courses such as Biomedical Engineering (425 to 430), Sports and Exercise Engineering (380 to 400), Energy Systems Engineering (410 to 430), Project and Construction Management (315 to 325) and Electrical and Electronic Engineering (445 to 455) have all seen an increase in CAO points. Points for the majority of Science courses have increased this year with NUI Galway’s Biomedical Science degree seeing a substantial increase of 35 points to 550, with Biotechnology also jumping up 30 points to 445 this year. Specialised Science programmes have also increased such as Biopharmaceutical Chemistry degree increasing 80 points to 495, Mathematical Science (455 to 485), Earth and Ocean Sciences (365 to 380), Physics and Applied Physics (390 to 400) and Physics with Astrophysics (390 to 405). The Computer Science and Information Technology course has increased by 25 points to 415 this year with Business Information Systems degree also leaping to 370 from 355 in 2011. As with national trends Humanities programmes at NUI Galway has seen a dip in points this year. However specialised courses such as the BA sa Cumarsáid has increased 25 points to 350. Similar with Business courses nationally specialised programmes such as Commerce with French see a rise of 20 points to 495 this year. NUI Galway’s Admission Officer, Stephen O’Dea, said: ‘This year, as with last year, CAO applicants have their eyes firmly set on the jobs market as we once again witness increases in the entry level points for courses in Science, Medicine, IT and Engineering, with 87% of all courses in these areas showing points increases over last year. As expected, and in line with national trends, demand for Humanities courses are down, however specialised Arts courses continue to perform well. Applicants are making well-informed decisions; they are choosing courses where the University has unique strengths and a well-established reputation. In particular, our Biomedical Science, IT and Engineering courses have proved very popular this year, which are supported by heavy investment in the Capital Infrastructure Project as new buildings, to house these courses, come on line. For example the new Engineering Building, a world-class teaching and research facility opened last year, accommodates some 1,100 students and 110 staff. The 14,250sqm building supports an emerging generation of engineers, engaged in a new wave of technologies, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship.” -ENDS-   Pointí CAO méadaithe go mór don Eolaíocht, Leigheas, IT agus Innealtóireacht in OÉ Gaillimh Tá méadú suntasach 51% tagtha ar phointí do chúrsaí OÉ Gaillimh i mbliana, ag teacht leis an méid atá ag tarlú ar fud na tíre. Tá an-éileamh ar Eolaíocht, Leigheas, IT agus Innealtóireacht sa chéad bhabhta de thairiscintí CAO ó OÉ Gaillimh, mar gheall ar mhargadh na bpost sna réimsí sin. Tá an-éileamh tagtha ar gach cúrsa Leighis* in OÉ Gaillimh, go háirithe Cnáimhseachas, tá méadú 30 pointe go 450 pointe tagtha air sin agus tá méadú 25 pointe tagtha ar chéim san Altranas Síciatrach in 2012. Tá méadú ó 400 pointe in 2011 go 430 pointe tagtha ar Bhaitsiléirí Neamhainmnithe san Innealtóireacht agus san Innealtóireacht Shibhialta in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá méadú 40 pointe go 445 tagtha ar Innealtóireacht Leictreonach agus Ríomhaireachta i mbliana. Tá méadú tagtha ar phointí CAO a theastaíonn ar chúrsaí cosúil le Innealtóireacht Bhithleighis (425 go 430), Innealtóireacht Spóirt agus Aclaíochta (380 go 400), Innealtóireacht Chórais Fuinnimh (410 go 430), Bainistíocht Tionscadail agus Foirgníochta (315 go 325) agus Innealtóireacht Leictreach agus Leictreonach (445 go 455). Tá méadú tagtha ar phointí d’fhormhór na gcúrsaí Eolaíochta i mbliana agus tá méadú suntasach 35 pointe tagtha ar an gcéim san Eolaíocht Bhithmhíochaine in OÉ Gaillimh go 550, agus méadú 30 pointe tagtha ar Bhiteicneolaíocht go 445 i mbliana. Tá méadú tagtha chomh maith ar shainchláir Eolaíochta cosúil le céim sa Cheimic Bhithchógaisíochta a mhéadaigh 80 pointe go 495, Eolaíocht Mhatamaiticiúil (455 go 485), Eolaíochtaí Domhain agus Aigéin (365 go 380), Fisic agus Fisic Fheidhmeach (390 go 400) agus Fisic le Réaltfhisic (390 go 405). Tá méadú 25 pointe tagtha ar an gcúrsa Ríomheolaíochta agus Teicneolaíochta Faisnéise go 415 i mbliana agus léim an chéim Córais Faisnéise Gnó go 370 ó 355 in 2011. Mar atá ag tarlú ar fud na tíre, tháinig laghdú ar phointí do chláir sna Daonnachtaí in OÉ Gaillimh i mbliana. Mar sin féin, tháinig méadú 25 pointe ar shainchláir cosúil leis an BA sa Chumarsáid go 350 pointe. Cosúil le cúrsaí Gnó ar fud na tíre tháinig méadú 20 pointe go 495 ar shainchláir cosúil le Tráchtáil le Fraincis i mbliana. Dúirt Oifigeach Iontrála OÉ Gaillimh, Stephen O’Dea: “I mbliana, ach an oiread leis an mbliain seo caite, tá iarratasóirí CAO ag coinneáil súil ghéar ar mhargadh na bpost agus arís eile tá sé le feiceáil againn an méadú atá tagtha ar na pointí a theastaíonn do chúrsaí Eolaíochta, Leighis, IT agus Innealtóireachta. Tá méadú tagtha ar na pointí ar 87% de na cúrsaí sna réimsí seo le bliain anuas. Mar a bhíothas ag súil leis, agus ag teacht leis an méid atá ag tarlú ar fud na tíre, laghdaigh an t-éileamh ar chúrsaí sna Daonnachtaí, ach tá ag éirí go maith i gcónaí le sainchláir sna Dána. Tá iarratasóirí ag déanamh cinntí maithe; tá siad ag roghnú cúrsaí a bhfuil an Ollscoil láidir iontu agus a bhfuil cáil ar an Ollscoil dá mbarr. Tá an-tóir ar chúrsaí san Eolaíocht Bhithmhíochaine, san IT agus san Innealtóireacht anseo i mbliana, agus tá infheistíocht mhór déanta san Infreastruchtúr Caipitil agus foirgnimh nua á dtógáil chun na cúrsaí seo a chur ar bun iontu. Mar shampla an Foirgneamh nua Innealtóireachta, áis Teagaisc agus Taighde den scoth a d’oscail anuraidh agus ina mbíonn 1,100 mac léinn agus 110 comhalta foirne. Tá an foirgneamh 14,250 méadar cearnach ina chnámh taca ag glúin nua innealtóirí a rachaidh i ngleic le teicneolaíochtaí nua agus a thabharfaidh faoin nuálaíocht agus faoin bhfiontraíocht.” -CRÍOCH-

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

NUI Galway is currently running an online exhibition of unique personal material relating to the founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) Michael Cusack. The GAA, which remains a dominant force in Ireland's cultural and sporting life, was founded in 1884 as a highly influential element of the Irish cultural renaissance of the late nineteenth century and of Ireland's struggle to re-establish its own political, linguistic and cultural identity. In 2007 the nieces of Michael Cusack's daughter-in-law, Kathleen O'Connell, donated a collection of documents and photographs associated with Cusack and his family to the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway. Among the most important historical items in the collection are the complete minutes of the Dublin Hurling Club, from 1883. Cusack was Vice-President of the club, a predecessor to the national organisation founded the following year. In addition, there is a diary kept by Cusack on a visit to his native Clare in 1902 and a range of personal, biographical and photographic material on Cusack's family. Many of these items are now available as part of this online exhibition created by the NUI Galway's Library archives service.  This is one of a number of digital resources and exhibitions created by the archives service to promote access to its valuable collections. Fergus Fahey, Digitalisation Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “Aside from its value for researchers into the cultural forces at work in that seminal period, and in particular the events leading up to the foundation of the GAA, the collection is unique in constituting the only known surviving material in Cusack’s own hand. It also provides an unparalleled insight into the resilient personality of Cusack, the private family man, and his vibrant and gentle wit.” Croke Park's famous Cusack Stand takes its name from Michael Cusack (1847–1906), one of eight men present at the founding of the GAA in Hayes's Commercial Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary on 1 November 1884.  Cusack was appointed honorary secretary of the new organisation, whose aim was to promote and codify Gaelic games. Prior to the founding of the GAA Cusack had founded the short-lived Dublin Hurling Club in February 1883 and Metropolitan Hurling Club in December 1883. As well as his involvement in Gaelic sport, Michael Cusack a teacher by profession was a prolific journalist, contributing to titles such as United Ireland, Celtic Times, Shamrock, Fáinne an Lae and The Nation.  Many of these titles are available in the James Hardiman Library's Special Collections.  The Michael Cusack collection is available to view at http://archives.library.nuigalway.ie/cusack/. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Ireland is now part of an academic network which hopes to improve disaster preparedness in cities worldwide. NUI Galway’s experts have joined with 67 other universities in efforts to increase society’s resilience to natural and man-made disasters. The project, called ANDROID (Academic Network for Disaster Resilience to Optimise Educational Development), aims to promote co-operation and innovation among European higher education institutions to increase society’s resilience to disasters of human and natural origin – such as earthquakes or the damage caused by ongoing wars. ANDROID, supported by an EU grant worth €800,000, will run for three years and is led by University of Salford’s Centre for Disaster Resilience, based in the UK. So far a consortium of partners from 64 European higher education institutions has embarked on the project, joined by three institutions from Australia, Canada and Sri-Lanka. Alexandra Revez from the School of Geography and Archaeology and the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy at NUI Galway, whose current research looks at flooding issues in Ireland, explains: “We need to stay one step ahead of disaster, and be prepared for all kinds of eventualities. In the case of earthquakes, this might involve strict building regulations, in the case of flash flooding this might involve public preparedness.” Over three years, the consortium partners will describe, analyse and compare the capacity of European cities and higher education institutions to address disaster risk. ANDROID will provide the link between the research and the public, helping to reinforce the connection between education and society. “There is now recognition of the need for collaboration on a large scale that involves a plurality of actors. ANDROID is based on an inter-disciplinary consortium of partners that comprises scientists from applied human, social and natural disciplines. Addressing disaster risk is an endless or continuous process that cannot stop,” said Professor Amaratunga from the Centre for Disaster Resilience. The project was inspired by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) 'Making Cities Resilient' campaign. The campaign advocates widespread commitment by local governments to build resilience to disasters, increase national government support to cities to strengthen local capacities and to develop global goals that are applicable for all cities. The next phase of ANDROID will involve using all the data collected by the consortium partners to create laws and other practical measures to build resilience. The Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy at NUI Galway is the largest national multi-disciplinary research hub focused on building an internationally-recognised programme of research-led impacts, as well as activity contributing to public policy debates and contemporary societal issues facing Ireland and Europe. The Institute fosters a culture of research excellence by bringing together scholastic strengths from the College of Business, Public Policy and Law and the College of Arts, Social Science and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, and also facilitates, supports and enhances existing and emerging collaborative research interactions nationally and internationally. For more information, please visit www.nuigalway.ie/cisc. -ends-

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

NUI Galway’s Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Nollaig Mac Congáil, officially launched the GIS Centre in the Ryan Institute this week. This event took place as part of the new international conference of 2012 Sino-European Symposium on Environment and Health (SESEH 2012) in the Bailey Allen Hall. ‘GIS’, Geographical Information System and/or Science, covers both technology and a rapidly growing science. It is used for analysing spatial data in many sectors of society, ranging from economics, government, business, and environmental management. The most popular applications of GIS in society are Google Earth and GPS navigation systems. Dr Chaosheng Zhang, Head of the GIS Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This is a milestone for the University. We have received wide support from all colleges of the University and I am confident that the GIS Centre will grow quickly.” Director of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, Professor Colin Brown, congratulated Dr Zhang on the organisation of SESEH and his assistance in establishing the GIS Centre. “The GIS Centre is already beginning to affect the way our researchers collaborate across a wide range of topic areas. We have developed an expertise that allows us to provide practical training courses for our researchers and any clients, inside or outside NUI Galway, with an interest in GIS.” The launch of the GIS Centre was sponsored by Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) Ireland’s National Mapping Agency and Supermap, a leading GIS company from China. As part of the GIS Centre launch NUI Galway launched its new MapGenie web map service, an exciting new online service from OSi which gives online access to mapping and imagery. Geraldine Ruane, OSiCEO, said: “OSi congratulates NUI Galway and the Ryan Institute on the launch of their GIS Centre and for taking the initiative as the first university to provide OSi’s MapGenie service to its students and staff. Using mapping in this way allows for better decision making and ultimately cost-savings. Using OSi’s MapGenie service in projects or research can provide better efficiencies and lead to more effective results.” -ENDS-

Friday, 24 August 2012

NUI Galway graduate and 2011 Hamilton Prize winner, Fionnuala Connolly, is about to embark on a PhD in Engineering and Applied Sciences in Harvard University. Having recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, Fionnuala, from Knocknacarra, Galway City has been offered a full scholarship as well as a Pierce Fellowship which is awarded to the top 5% of graduate students. "We are thrilled for Fionnuala and her success in applying to the best graduate schools abroad", says Professor Michel Destrade, Head of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway. “It is a testimony to her remarkable academic achievements so far, and also to the excellent reputation of Irish Applied Mathematics. We are sorry to see her leave Galway, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which cannot be turned down.” Dr Ray Ryan, Head of the School of Mathematics at NUI Galway, said: “The Hamilton Prize is awarded each year to the third-year student who is best in mathematical sciences at NUI Galway. It has gone to students majoring in Pure Maths, Applied Maths, and Financial Maths. Its prestige is undeniable, and we encourage all students to strive in mathematical subjects and aim for it. Fionnuala has been an outstanding student – she has attained first-class honours in every exam she has taken in NUI Galway and I was not at all surprised to hear that she was offered fellowships by one of the best universities in the world.” Fionnuala began at NUI Galway in 2008, originally to study Physics with Medical Physics. “At the end of my first year, I realised I enjoyed mathematics and decided to immerse myself fully into its application to real-world problems and am grateful to the College of Science to have allowed me to switch to a degree in Applied Mathematics.” While at Harvard, Fionnuala is hoping to work in a field related to modelling in engineering or medicine, possibly with links to neurosciences. In recent years, Mathematical Sciences at NUI Galway have undergone several major changes, with for example the fusion of the former Departments of Mathematics, which included Statistics, and Mathematical Physics into a School with four Disciplines of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Bioinformatics, and the launch of a new Degree in Mathematical Science. -ENDS-

Friday, 24 August 2012

500 visitors come onshore for one day showcase of Galway Friday, 24 August, 2012: Over 500 students, faculty, and staff of Semester at Sea® (SAS), the nation’s premier shipboard program for study abroad, will arrive in Galway at 8:00 am on 31 August for a one day exploration of Galway before also docking in Dublin. Ireland is the first country on the academic voyage itinerary. Sarah Cosgrove, a student from the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway joined the shipboard community in Halifax where embarkation took place on 23 August. All participants are traveling aboard the MV Explorer, a state-of-the-art passenger ship that Semester at Sea has outfitted as a traveling university. Speaking in advance of her departure, Sarah Cosgrove, from Sligo and a postgraduate researcher at NUI Galway, said: “I began a Marine Science degree in NUI Galway in 2006 and I am extremely happy to be continuing my studies as a postgraduate researcher. The University has provided me with so many fantastic opportunities over the last six years and my current involvement with the semester at sea program is a perfect example of such an exciting and rewarding opportunity.” Sarah added: “I think the idea of this ‘floating campus’ which invites students from over 25 campuses across the US to travel the globe visiting a vast number of countries and experience multi-cultural diversity is a simply out-standing concept. I am both honored and delighted to share this experience and I am very much looking forward to educating and informing so many international students on what we have to offer here in Galway and the West of the Ireland. It is definitely a once in a life-time opportunity.” Semester at Sea is a global study abroad program that traces its roots to 1963. Participants, who hail from more than 250 U.S. and international universities, circumnavigate the globe aboard the 24,300-ton campus of the MV Explorer, attend classes in a closely knit environment with an international faculty, complete fieldwork and travel while in port, and receive course credit from the University of Virginia, the academic sponsor. “Ensuring a positive message about Galway Harbour and NUI Galway is vitally important to open new avenues and form new relationship with the Semester at Sea program. Galway Harbour Company is delighted to be able to support Sarah Cosgrove in delivering the key messages of promoting Galway as a cruise destination on the transatlantic passage from Halifax to Galway onboard the cruise ship Explorer”, said Galway Harbour Master, Captain Brian Sheridan. The autumn voyage departed Halifax, Nova Scotia on 23 August 2012 and will travel to international destinations including Ireland, England, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Dominica before returning to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA in December. This is the 111th voyage of Semester at Sea. Eamon Howley, Managing Director of BEM Ireland Ltd, said: “BEM Ireland was proud to be selected as the preferred Destination Management Company in the region by the Galway Harbour Board last September. We have put together a number of one day and three day tour packages for Semester at Sea that will showcase Galway and the West. BEM Ireland is delighted to be supporting Sarah Cosgrove, a marine student from NUI Galway, who will join the students from Semester at Sea aboard the Explorer on her journey from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Galway. Sarah will be presenting information on the West of Ireland and helping the students to select the tours that are of most interest to them. We hope she has a very enjoyable voyage and a great life experience.” Over the years, Semester at Sea has achieved a number of significant milestones, including groundbreaking visits to countries such as the former Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and Myanmar, and participants have met with prominent leaders including Fidel Castro, Anwar Sadat, Indira Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Corazon Aquino, Sidi Mohammed, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela. ENDS

Monday, 27 August 2012

NUI Galway has announced its Energy Management System (EnMS) will be certified to International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 50001. The certification, which will be completed in September 2012, will cover the University campus in Galway, including more than 110,000sqm of facilities, including teaching, leisure and sports, conference, laboratory and cutting-edge research facilities. Energy is one of the biggest recurring costs NUI Galway face annually. The implementation of an energy management system will not only help to manage and monitor energy consumption, but also to reduce it. This maximizes energy efficiency and reduces annual energy consumption and resulting expenditure on critical utilities. Savings made in this way will help to fund ongoing expenditure in other energy reduction programs and to invest in new energy efficient technologies. Noel O’Connor, Buildings Services Engineer at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has focused on energy management for many years. We chose to have our EnMS certified to give us, and our stakeholders, confidence that we are managing energy use efficiently in all our operations. We also believe that the regular audits will help us to keep energy at the top of our management agenda and help us to focus on continual improvement. NUI Galway intends to build on lessons learned from the ISO 50001 certification process into our fundamental design criteria for new buildings. We are also conscious of our role as a research-based university and we will share relevant data gleaned from our EnMS and improvement projects as an educational resource for our students and researchers; particularly those in the Environmental, Engineering and Economics programs.” NUI Galway has an annual replacement program for existing building stock to install energy efficient lighting, heating, ventilation and cooling systems. The capital building program is heavily influenced by a focus and philosophy of improving the energy efficiency of buildings, beyond present day regulations and planning standards.  A case in point is the newly opened Engineering Building. The building contains a wide- range of technologies such as large-scale rainwater harvesting for grey water use, combined heat and power plant, biomass boiler, solar thermal system, insulation and glazing properties in excess of planning requirements, intelligent control systems low-embodied energy materials such as zinc, grass roofs for water attenuation, and many other cutting-edge technologies. The structure is among the first in Ireland to employ the use of voided slab systems. The innovation introduces ‘plastic bubbles’ into the concrete, reducing the weight and quantity of concrete used. ISO’s portfolio of over 18,600 standards provides business, government and society with practical tools for all three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, environmental and social. ISO standards make a positive contribution to the world we live in facilitating trade, spread knowledge, disseminate innovative advances in technology, and share good management and conformity assessment practices. ISO 50001 is based on the management system model that is already understood and implemented by organisations worldwide. It can make a positive difference for organisations of all types in the very near future, while supporting longer term efforts for improved energy technologies. NUI Galway has engaged the services of Casey Technology and CICS to certify its EnMS to ISO 50001. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Researchers at NUI Galway are involved in a new European project which hopes to deliver a cost effective tool for the speedy diagnosis of infections such as pneumonia.  The test would reduce diagnosis time from days to hours, so that the appropriate treatments can be administered as early as possible for the best possible outcome. Respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia, are amongst the top four major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation, pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children, killing an estimated 1.4 million children under the age of five each year. “There is an urgent need for rapid diagnostic tests capable of identifying the large range of microorganisms and antibiotic resistances involved with infection”, explains Dr Thomas Barry of the Molecular Diagnostics Research Group at NUI Galway.  “Speed and accuracy are key to appropriate therapy and survival of the patient. The ultimate objective is to develop new cost effective, user-friendly products that will be routinely used in hospitals.  This could replace time-consuming and labour-intensive methods so that a diagnosis can be achieved within a couple of hours, rather than days or weeks.” The diagnostic products for the rapid diagnosis of Respiratory Tract Infections, specifically pneumonia, will be based on a novel ‘sample-in, result-out’ technology platform. The Molecular Diagnostics Research Group (MDRG) at NUI Galway is part of an international consortium involved in the project, funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7). A total grant of €6 million was awarded with the contribution to NUI Galway close to €1 million. The project, Rapid Identification of Respiratory Tract Infections (RiD-RTI), represents a unique partnership of SMEs, universities and hospitals from four European countries. The MDRG at NUI Galway joins University College London, the French diagnostic company Genewave, the Finnish Biotech company Mobidiag, and Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris in this consortium. The NUI Galway project component is led by Dr Thomas Barry, Principal Investigator of the MDRG which is based in Microbiology along with Dr’s Nina Tuite and Kate Reddington. -ends- 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Culture Night 2012 will take place on Friday, 21 September with cultural institutions from across the country opening their doors to stage a series of special events to mark the occasion. Among those hosting events for this national evening of celebration is the Archives and Special Collections services in NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library. The Library holds numerous unique archival collections dating from the 15th century to the present day across a range of disciplines. Throughout the night, the James Hardiman Library will be showcasing many of these archival treasures. The programme of events will begin with an overview of the literary archive, life and legacy of the celebrated Irish playwright Tom Kilroy. This will be followed by an exhibition and talk on Pomes Penyeach and Nora Barnacle archived letters. This exhibition will allow the public to view an original edition of the James Joyce written collection of poems, donated by Joyce to the Special Collections of the James Hardiman Library. To complete the event a special film screening of The Dead will also take place. Adapted from James Joyce’s classic story, The Dead was the last film directed by John Huston in 1987. Prior to the screening, Professor Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media will give a short introduction on the John Huston archive. NUI Galway Librarian, John Cox, said: “Culture Night offers an ideal opportunity to engage the public with some of the treasures in the James Hardiman Library’s archives and special collections and the public are very welcome to attend all or part of our events.” All events, which are free and open to the public, will take place at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media, NUI Galway with doors opening at 5.30pm. For more information or to RSVP contact Barry Houlihan in the James Hardiman Library at 091 493353 or email barry.houlihan@nuigalway.ie.    -ENDS-

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Enhancing the survival of discards and developing hatchery technologies Researchers at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute are part of a new of €2.4 million EU project that aims to develop and enhance the sustainability of the prawn fishery. The research will focus on developing hatchery and ranching technologies, and enhancing the survival of discards. The latter is a contentious issue in ongoing EU Common Fisheries Policy negotiations. Nephrops norvegicus, also known as ‘Dublin Bay prawn’, ‘langoustine’ or ‘scampi’ will be the specific focus of the ‘NEPHROPS’ project. It is being led by NUI Galway and the Orkney Fisheries Association, and will bring together expertise from the fishing industry, technologists and academia across Europe to explore the potential for enhancing the sustainability of inshore fisheries. “The mortality of prawns is generally the result of poor handling and inappropriate discard protocols,” explains Dr Anne Marie Power, a Lecturer in Zoology at NUI Galway. As part of this project we will be developing ways of enhancing the survival of discards from fisheries.” After capture by trawl or creel undersized prawns (often as much as 45% of the catch) may be thrown back and it is estimated that 75% of discards from trawl fishing may die. Another aspect of the project is to develop hatchery technology suitable for use by groups of local fishermen interested in enhancing their fishery by releasing juveniles onto suitable grounds. “In order for this research to be successful, we will need to understand better what makes good grounds for prawns, how they behave when they are released and what can be done to enhance survival at the critical release stage”, said Dr Power. The main areas of work for researchers at the Ryan Institute are the identification of suitable inshore prawn habitats, as well as mapping and tagging studies to examine movement of animals. Growth trials will be conducted at the University’s Carna Aquaculture Research facility. The project leaders within NUI Galway are Dr Anne Marie Power and Professor Mark Johnson, who is also overall scientific leader for the NEPHROPS consortium. Professor Johnson commented: “Nephrops is a really important fishery in Ireland due to its economic value. This is a great opportunity to work with industrial partners, especially pot fishermen, to provide more opportunities to sustainably develop the resource.” The project will also include close liaison with Dr Colm Lordan of the Marine Institute. The University’s element of the project is worth €540,000. Other research institutions involved are University of Hull, Swansea University, Goteborg University and the Technology Institute in Norway.The research has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA Research Executive Agency http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/103402_en.html under grant agreement no. 286903.   For more information and a full list of contacts visit: www.nephrops.eu ENDS

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Daráine Mulvihill a former student of the Ard-Dioplóma i gCumarsáid Fheidhmeach, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge will this week form part of Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage of the London Games which began on 29 August. Daráine, who hails from Ashbourne, Co. Meath was awarded the ESB/Rehab Young Person of the Year Award in 2002 and was a member of the State Council, working in an advisory capacity to the President.   In 2006 while completing her postgraduate studies with NUI Galway, Daráine was awarded the RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta Gold Medal for achieving the highest standard on the Ard-Dioplóma i gCumarsáid Fheidhmeach.  While commenting on her time at NUI Galway, Daráine said: “I very much enjoyed my year with Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, learning many new and invaluable skills which are now central to my new role with Channel 4.” After finishing the Ard-Dioplóma i gCumarsáid Fheidhmeach, Daráine worked in the RTÉ children’s programming department as well as the BBC and the international sports channel ESPN.  Viewers can tune into Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage, featuring Daráine from the 29th August through until the 9th of September. ENDS Iar-mhac Léinn de chuid OÉ Gaillimh mar Láithreoir ag Channel 4 do na Cluichí Paralimpeacha Beidh Daráine Mulvihill, iar-mhac léinn de chuid Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge mar láithreoir leis an gcainéal teilifíse, Channel 4, le linn na gcluichí Paralimpeacha a thosaigh an 29 Lúnasa. Is as Baile Trasna, Cill Dhéagláin, Co. na Mí, do Dharáine.  Bronnadh Gradam BSL/Rehab Ghaiscíoch Óg na Bliana uirthi in 2002 agus bhí sí ina ball den Chomhairle Stáit, údarás comhairle a thugann cúnamh don Uachtarán. D’fhreastal Daráine ar an tArd-Dioplóma i gCumarsáid Fheidhmeach, OÉ, Gaillimh in 2005 – 2006 agus bronnadh Bonn Óir Raidió na Gaeltachta uirthi don té is fearr a bhain caighdeán amach ar an gcúrsa.  Agus í ag tagairt don tréimhse a chaith sí leis an Acadamh, dúirt Daráine gur: “Thaitin an bhliain a chaith mé san Acadamh go mór liom, bhain mé scileanna den scoth amach agus gan an cúrsa ní bheadh mé ag tabhairt faoin ról atá agam anois.” D’éirigh le Daráine obair a fháil in RTÉ tar éis di an cúrsa a chur i gcrích agus  tá obair déanta ag Daráine ó shin i leith leis an BBC agus leis an gcainéal spóirt, ESPN, i measc go leor eile.  Beidh Daráine le feiceáil ar an scáileán agus í i mbun tráchtaireachta le Channel 4 do na cluichí Paralimpeacha atá ar siúl ón 29 Lúnasa – 09 Meán Fómhair i Londain. CRÍOCH

Friday, 31 August 2012

The newest and most detailed maps showing the predicted location of coral reefs in Irish waters were revealed at a conference in NUI Galway this week.  The maps are expected to prove very useful to policymakers, and draw heavily on information contained in the Irish National Seabed survey seafloor bathymetry map – one of the most extensive maps ever produced by a maritime nation. They were presented by NUI Galway PhD candidate, Anna Rengstorf, at a four-day international marine conference ‘Ecosystem Based Management and Monitoring in the Deep Mediterranean and Norht Atlantic’ which concludes today. Over 70 scientists and stakeholders from 15 countries attended the event at NUI Galway to discuss the latest scientific research from two European Union funded projects - CoralFISH and Deepfishman - devoted to the management of deep-sea resources.  The aim of the conference is to produce concrete proposals for the implementation of improved management of deep-sea fisheries and indeed other deep-sea resources taking into account the need to conserve biodiversity. The conference is very timely as the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Mde. Damanaki has proposed changes to the Deep-Sea Access Regime governing the licensing of boats wanting to fish deep-sea species. The Commissioner has proposed that trawling and all bottom contact fishing gears should be phased out over a two year period. This has been met with applause by conservationists but with less enthusiasm by fishermen. Dr Anthony Grehan, of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, who is hosting the conference said: “The need to develop the tools and a strategy for the implementation of maritime spatial planning is becoming increasingly urgent.  Competition for deep-sea resources is becoming more intense while the need to ensure adequate conservation of biodiversity - and genetic variety - is a priority for the future health of the planet.”  One approach that is gaining favour is the development of habitat suitability modeling that takes information about where species or habitats occur from detailed maps and extrapolates it to produce predicted distribution maps over much larger areas. NUI Galway is one of the pioneers of applying this approach in the deep-sea.  The maps produced by Ms Rengstorf, who is a Geological Survey of Ireland Griffiths Programme post-graduate awardee, will feed into this approach. Dr Grehan who supervises the project said, “these maps are statistically robust and reduce the need for expensive field mapping while providing sufficient detail for policymakers and managers to enable activity zoning as a key component in the implementation of a any future maritime spatial plan.” Dr Grehan added this is definitely the way forward and will likely become a key component of the implementation of the ‘Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth - An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland’.  The Government plan was launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD at the Marine Institute, Galway last month with the intention of doubling the value of Ireland’s ocean wealth to 2.4% of GDP by 2030 and increasing the turnover from our ocean economy to more than €6.4bn by 2020. -ends-

Friday, 31 August 2012

New report reveals conservation status of the world’s invertebrates One fifth of the world’s invertebrates may be heading for extinction according to ‘Spineless’, a report published today (Friday 31 August) by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), in conjunction with IUCN and the IUCN Species Survival Commission.  Digging up earthworms, chasing butterflies and collecting clam shells could become a thing of the past if enough isn’t done to protect invertebrates. And if they disappear, humans could soon follow. These critters form the basis of many of the essential benefits that nature provides; earthworms recycle waste nutrients, coral reefs support a myriad of life forms and bees help pollinate crops. More than 12,000 invertebrates from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species were reviewed by conservation scientists who discovered freshwater species to be under the highest risk of extinction, followed closely by terrestrial and marine invertebrates. Dr Louise Allcock of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway was one of the co-authors of the report.   The findings from this initial group of global, regional and national assessments provide important insight into the overall status of invertebrates. Together they indicate that the threat status of invertebrates is likely very similar to that of vertebrates and plants. Invertebrates are at risk from a variety of threats.  Molluscs such as thick shelled river mussels suffer from pollution from agricultural sources and dam construction, which affects the quality of the water they live in.  Crayfish such as the noble crayfish, are at risk from the impact of invasive species and diseases.  What starts off as a local decline could lead to a global extinction, and recognising the growing pressures on invertebrates is critical to informing more effective conservation.  Dr Ben Collen, head of the Indicators and Assessments unit at ZSL says: “Invertebrates constitute almost 80 per cent of the world’s species, and a staggering one in five species could be at risk of extinction. While the cost of saving them will be expensive, the cost of ignorance to their plight appears to be even greater”. The highest risk of extinction tends to be associated with species that are less mobile and are only found in small geographical areas. For example, vertebrate amphibians and invertebrate freshwater molluscs both face high levels of threat – around one third of species. In contrast, invertebrate species which are more mobile like dragonflies and butterflies face a similar threat to that of birds, and around one tenth of species are at risk. ZSL’s Director of Conservation, Professor Jonathan Baillie added: “We knew that roughly one fifth of vertebrates and plants were threatened with extinction, but it was not clear if this was representative of the small spineless creatures that make up the majority of life on the planet. The initial findings in this report indicate that 20% of all species may be threatened.  This is particularly concerning as we are dependent on these spineless creatures for our very survival.” Invertebrates not only provide a bewilderingly rich and varied component of the natural world, they are our natural capital; the engineers of the many benefits which humans accumulate from an intact and fully functioning environment. “In the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) we are now trying to expand the number of invertebrates species assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species,” said Dr Simon Stuart, Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission. “The early results of this work are included in this book. I very much hope that the expansion of conservation-related information on invertebrates will give them a much higher conservation profile in future.” “We need to successfully communicate the significance and value of invertebrate life, if we are to rescue the many thousands of threatened species from the brink of extinction.” said Richard Edwards, Chief Executive of Wildscreen, an IUCN Red List partner working to help raise the public profile of the world’s threatened species, through the power of wildlife imagery. “This important report highlights the impact we are having on the world’s invertebrate biodiversity, species we all rely on for healthy natural systems, sustainable livelihoods and human well-being." Human demand for resources is continually increasing the pressure on invertebrate populations. This report paints a clear picture of how biodiversity is changing, and will enable experts to implement successful conservation plans for those invertebrates which are struggling to survive. ZSL will be presenting ‘Spineless: Status and Trends of the World’s Invertebrates’ at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju on 7 September.   ENDS

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

NUI Galway’s Professor Colin O’Dowd has been awarded the Appleton Medal by the Institute of Physics for his ‘distinguished research in environmental and atmospheric physics’. In particular, the NUI Galway physicist was lauded for his work on the formation and transformation of aerosols, the tiny particles which can effect cloud formation and impact climate change. Sir Edward Appleton was a British physicist who received the Nobel Prize in 1947 for his achievements in ionospheric physics. His experiments proved the existence of a layer of ionised gas in the upper atmosphere, known now as the Appleton layer. The Institute of Physics, which has its headquarters in London, awards the medal every two years to identify and honour physicists who are today making remarkable contributions to science. At NUI Galway, Colin O’Dowd is Professor in the School of Physics and Director of the Ryan Institute’s Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies. Commenting on his award, he said: “It is a great honour to be recognised by as prestigious an organisation as the Institute of Physics, especially as this particular accolade dates back to 1941. This award is an indicator of the international standing of research carried out at NUI Galway.” Professor O’Dowd is internationally renowned for his research into atmospheric composition, air pollution and climate change and has previously received the Smoluchowski Award and a Doctorate of Science from the University of Manchester for his research achievements.  Much of his work involves NUI Galway’s Mace Head atmospherics research station, which is one of the most advanced and sophisticated research stations of its kind. Data from Mace Head, located in Connemara, is used by climatologists and modellers around the world to predict global climate change. Previously, Professor O’Dowd’s research has been recognised through the award of Fellow of both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Meteorological Society and with Membership of the Royal Irish Academy, the latter being regarded as the highest academic honor within Ireland. -ends-

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Ireland has the capacity to be an international centre for commercialisation in the field of regenerative medicine, delegates at an international stem cell conference in NUI Galway heard today. Reflecting this potential, new Irish company Orbsen Therapeutics is developing proprietary technologies designed to isolate stem cells. The NUI Galway spin-out is targeting the rapidly maturing and expanding regenerative medicine market, which is expected to grow to $118 billion next year. Frank Barry is Professor of Cellular Therapy at NUI Galway, Director of Orbsen Therapeutics, and organiser of the Mesenchymal Stem Cell Conference which opened yesterday. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a type of adult stem cell, and this event brings together the world’s leading scientists in the field to discuss their latest ideas and findings. This is the first major stem cell conference to take place in Ireland, and is looking at all aspects of adult stem cells, from basic biology to manufacturing to clinical trials and therapeutics. Stem cells hold great promise as an alternative to drugs and surgical procedures for treating a wide range of medical conditions including heart disease, arterial disease of the limbs, diabetes complications, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. The treatment potential of stem cells is linked to their natural capacity to dampen inflammation and promote healing, repair and regeneration of damaged tissues. According to Professor Barry: “Ireland has a strong research base in adult stem cell therapy and has the capcacity for advanced stem cell bioprocessing. There is huge potential in this market and we anticipate that there will be extraordinary growth over the next 5-10 years. There are currently over 400 regenerative medicine products on the market with many more in development.” Orbsen Therapeutics has developed a clear pipeline of clinical indications which they hope, using their proprietary technologies, to bring through to clinical trial over the coming years. These include osteoarthritis, acute lung injury syndrome, diabetic foot ulcer, critical limb ischemia and others.   “Combining the utility, novelty and the value of its technologies, Orbsen is well placed to take advantage of the many opportunities in this fast moving and important emerging market”, said Brian Molloy, CEO of Orbsen Theraepeutics. Orbsen Therapeutics Limited was formed as a spin out company to develop and commercialise new intellectual property built up by researchers at the SFI-funded Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway. Scientists at NUI Galway are investigating how adult stems cells might be used to develop new treatments for vascular disease, osteoarthritis and lung injury. The University has become a leading centre of translational research in adult stem cells involving its National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) and REMEDI. The conference is supported by Orbsen Therapeutics, Science Foundation Ireland, NUI Galway and Fáilte Ireland. -ends-

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A crew of ten NUI Galway students and graduates finished sixth place in the overall standings, and first in their class, in the 2012 Round Ireland Yacht Race. The team, one of the youngest to compete in the competition, was the second Irish boat to cross the finishing line in their 38-ft racing yacht which they chartered especially for the race. The Round Ireland Yacht Race is a 1400km non-stop circumnavigation of Ireland by sea and is held every two years. The NUI Galway crew completed the race in 5 days, 2 hours and 6 minutes. NUI Galway crew member, Joan Mulloy, said: “It was a tough race and very closely fought with a boat the same as ours in our class. The training and preparation paid off as we consistently had better boat speed than our competitors. The last two days of the race were very tough with light winds and a strong current against to us to start. The wind then picked up and we had an upwind slog down the Irish Sea.” Ms Mulloy added: “Wicklow Sailing Club surely was a welcome sight and after five days and two hours at sea we were very happy to see here family and friends waiting for us on the pier. A massive thank you is owed to all of our supporters and those who followed us on the live race tracker.” The NUI Galway crew was made up of students and graduates from various disciplines including engineering, science and commerce. NUI Galway crew skipper Cathal Clarke said: “I am delighted that we have come away with a result that reflects the effort put in by the whole crew in training, preparation and during the race. On behalf of the crew I would express gratitude both to the University and the wider community for the enthusiasm and strong support we have received; it has made the whole campaign possible.” Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: “We are hugely proud of the NUI Galway crew. The determination and drive of this crew is to be admired, especially given that they are one of the youngest crews to participate in the race. They have worked very hard and displayed incredible determination and dedication over recent months in their preparation for the race. The University actively promotes leadership and team building skills and is delighted to support this crew to further develop these attributes as they compete in the Round Ireland Race. We congratulate them on this great success.” -ENDS-