Tuesday, 9 October 2012

                       EU briefing for students of Ireland’s only conference interpreter training programme The European Commission's Directorate-General for Interpretation, Mr Marco Benedetti today visited Galway where he met President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne plus staff and students of the MA/PDip (Conference Interpreting) currently being taught at the University. Mr Benedetti addressed a group of language students at NUI Galway on issues related to the use of languages and multilingualism in the EU, with a special emphasis on interpretation. Emphasising the importance of interpreter training, Marco Benedetti said: “The primary responsibility for training conference interpreters lays with the member states and in particular their universities. NUI Galway and in particular Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge is the only Conference Interpreter training course on the entire island of Ireland and the only source of Irish language interpreters in the world so its activities should be nurtured.” “The Directorate General for Interpretation has been able to build up its interpreting resources for Irish and in fact for English over the past few years largely due to solid relationship with the MA in Conference Interpreting at NUI Galway,” said Susan Folan, Programme Director at the University. “Cooperation began in 2008 with DG Interpretation providing regular teaching assistance by experienced staff interpreters and trainers from the institutions. Every year students of the MA in Conference Interpreting come to Brussels for a study visit, including practical work experience, in real meetings, in a dummy booth,” she said. To highlight the importance that prospective employers place on language skills in today’s market, a career event will take place later today (Tuesday, 9 October) in the Siobhán Mc Kenna Theatre at NUI Galway. Mr Benedetti and Joan Flanagan, Education Officer of the Parliament Representation in Ireland will outline the employment opportunities available to language graduates in the European Union, while speakers from SAP Software Solutions will discuss opportunities at home and abroad in multilingual  tech support. During his Irish visit, the Directorate-General in his Government meetings with Lucinda Creighton, Minister for European Affairs at the Department of the Taoiseach, will discuss the finalisation of preparations for interpretation during the Irish Presidency of the European Union from January 1 to June 30, 2013. This is will also be an opportunity for the Director-General and the minister to exchange views on multilingualism, language teaching and interpreter training in Ireland. The EU has always considered cultural and linguistic diversity a richness and a strength and as something to be safeguarded. Reliable interpreting services will be essential to the Irish Presidency and NUI Galway is committed to providing the requisite skills to their graduates to enable them to avail of these opportunities. ENDS

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

NUI Galway’s Professor Colin O’Dowd was in London last week to collect the Appleton Medal, awarded to him 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. 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, 10 October 2012

A new app developed at NUI Galway now provides a directory of numbers for local hospitals, pharmacies, GPs, support and leisure services. The free app was launched this week by Helplink, a new Irish social enterprise which provides easily accessible and affordable online counselling, as well as other award winning affordable or free health and support services nationwide. The launch of the app marks the first consolidated listing of mental health, health, leisure, charity and support services in Ireland, both private and public. Lochlann Scott, Managing Director of Helplink and psychological studies graduate from NUI Galway explains the motivation behind the app: “We at Helplink want to be at the forefront of e-health and tele-health, this App brings us one step closer to achieving this. On a number of occasions over the past few years I have needed to access numbers or addresses for local hospitals, pharmacies, GPs etc but I was frustrated that I had to pay significant amounts of money through my phone to get them. I thought services like these should be easy to find and free. I am proud to say that we at Helplink in conjunction with NUI Galway and Enterprise Ireland have created just that; a directory that is comprehensive, easy to use and free.” The technology was developed by researchers at the discipline of Information Technology in NUI Galway. Research engineer Stephanus Meiring explains, “We were able to pack a lot of functionality into this app. You can call your chosen listing’s number directly, send an email, get a Google map up of their location or get the main contact details sent to your phone for free. The main challenge was to enable the app to run across a multitude of smartphone platforms” NUI Galway’s Dr Michael Schukat, Principal Investigator on the project, added that, “As an academic institution it is important for us to collaborate with industry and the Enterprise Ireland Innovation voucher scheme provides us with this opportunity.” There are many ways of using the directory, you can download the Helplink directory App for free from the 'App store' or 'Google Play' store. You can use the mobile browser by clicking on the icon on the website, or you can simply just use the directory page from your home or office computer by using the directory page at www.helplink.ie/directory. “The new app is just one of a number of award winning services offered by Helplink. The others, like our affordable online counselling and innovative employers’ assistance programmes, have been established with the goal of providing affordable and accessible mental health and healthcare services nationwide”, added Lochlann Scott. For more about Helplink or to find quick links to the app visit www.helplink.ie ENDS

Thursday, 11 October 2012

NUI Galway’s Law Society, in conjunction with its Literary and Debating Society, will host a public address by world renowned economist Professor Edmund Phelps on Monday, 15 October. In 2006 Professor Phelps was granted the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences for his analysis of intertemporal trade-offs in macroeconomic policy. During the address the Law Society and the Literary and Debating Society will present its prestigious President’s Medal to Professor Phelps. Professor Phelps’ work has had a profound impact on economic research as well as policy. Born in Evanston, Illinois, he went to Amherst College for his undergraduate education in 1951, where in his second year he quickly became aware of an important unsolved problem with the existing theory, and the existing gap between microeconomics and macroeconomics. In 1959 he received his PhD from Yale where he studied under future Nobel Prize winners James Tobin and Thomas Schelling.   In 1961 Professor Phelps published a famous paperon the Golden Rule savings rate, one of his major contributions to economic science, which started a wave of research on how much a nation ought to spend on present consumption rather than save and invest for future generations. From the 1980’s he increased his collaborations with European universities and in 1990 took part in a mission where he designed a proposal for the reform of the USSR. Cathal O'hÁodhagáin, Auditor of NUI Galway’s Law Society, said: “It is an honour and a privilege for our society to host such a brilliant mind as Professor Phelps. His economical works has rightly led to him being honoured with a Nobel Prize and it is apt that the 2012 Noble Prize winner for Economic Science will be announced this Monday, the same day as his address in NUI Galway. We look forward to welcoming him as our honoured guest.” Professor Phelps holds many honorary doctorates and professorships. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Science and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association, and in 2001 a Festschrift Conference was held in his honour. In 2008 he was named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur and awarded the Premio Pico della Mirandola and the Kiel Global Economy Prize. The same year UBA Law School established the Catedra Phelps and the Phelps Medal for Innovation. In 2010 he was appointed Dean of New Huadu Business School at Minjiang University in Fuzhou and awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the Université libre de Bruxelles. In 2011, Professor Phelps received the Louise Blouin Creative Leadership Award and was named a Full Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Maria Keenan, Auditor of the Literary and Debating Society at NUI Galway, said: “During the event Professor Phelps will be presented with President's Medal. We pride ourselves on awarding these medals to those we view as having put the power of such platforms to their optimum use within the wider spheres of society, understanding that discourse is the only real means by which resolution can be found. To this end, the society's highest accolade, the President's Medal, is awarded to those the society views as having particularly excelled in their chosen fields. Previous recipients of the award include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Brian Friel and Bob Dylan.” The address will take place at 2pm, in the Siobhan McKenna Theatre, NUI Galway. -ENDS-

Monday, 15 October 2012

NUI Galway will host this year’s Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 31 October, from 12 to 4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options. Joanne Sweeney-Burke, an NUI Galway graduate, business-woman, entrepreneur, and finalist in TV3’s The Apprentice, will be guest speaker at the event and will talk about how postgraduate studies furthered her own career. The Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. With almost 3,500 postgraduate students currently attending NUI Galway, 70 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. Information on scholarships, fees and other practical considerations will also be made available to prospective students on the day. Throughout the day postgraduate students will have the option of attending talks on funding opportunities and applications available to them, career prospects and progression, CV clinics and there will also be information on how to apply for a postgraduate course. Speaking ahead of the Postgraduate Open Day, Joanne Sweeney-Burke said: “Postgraduate study gives your career path a clear focus. It defines your areas of expertise, intellectual offering but also demonstrates a level of achievement that employers will welcome. A postgraduate qualification also eases your path into the workforce by making you 'employable and career ready'. After completing my BA in English, Sociology & Politics I chose a Higher Diploma in Applied Communications and three days after walking out of NUI Galway I walked into my first job as a Broadcast Journalist. Following up with a Masters in Journalism, eleven years on I haven't been unemployed for a single day. I know my postgraduate qualifications have had a huge bearing on my career path, subsequent job opportunities and ultimately to owner of Media Box.” NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative research centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. According to John Hannon, Head of NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre: “In the current economic climate, there is increased interest among undergraduate students in staying in education by pursuing postgraduate studies. A postgraduate qualification can provide a real career boost. Undoubtedly, it can maximise career prospects and earnings.” To book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day or you can register on the day. -ENDS-

Monday, 15 October 2012

Leading experts on the assessment and management of headache and pain affecting the face and mouth will attend the Irish Pain Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Galway on Saturday, 20 October.  Coinciding with the Global Year Against Headache, the meeting will discuss new advances in the diagnosis and treatment of common, but often debilitating conditions such as migraine. Less common conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia which is associated with severe facial pain will also be discussed. Clinical experts and scientists from a range of professional disciplines such as pain medicine, surgery, nursing, physiotherapy and psychology will present their research findings to an audience of scientists and health practitioners.  Dr Brian McGuire from the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway and member of the Irish Pain Society committee, said: “Persistent or chronic headache and orofacial pain cause a great deal of suffering and disability. We are very fortunate to have the Irish Pain Society meeting in Galway this year and the speakers include many world experts in the field of pain research, promising to be an outstanding scientific meeting”.  The meeting will take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway and further details can be found at www.irishpainsociety.com. -ENDS-

Monday, 15 October 2012

NUI Galway student, Mona Wise scooped the boards at the first ever Blog Awards Ireland event held in the Osprey Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare on Saturday night. In addition to winning ‘Best Blog Award’ for ‘wisewords.ie’ a blog on food, family and lifestyle, Ms Wise also won awards for the best blog by a journalist, best photography blog and best food and drink blog. Designed to recognise the passion and enthusiasm that blogging brings to the Irish media landscape the inaugural Blog Awards Ireland received over 1400 nominations for blogs in 30 categories including lifestyle, food/drink, personal, photography and health/wellbeing. Over 250 blogger and blog owners from all over Ireland people attended Saturday’s awards ceremony with many more attending ‘virtually’ on twitter. Speaking after the awards ceremony, a delighted Mona said, “I’m absolutely speechless and humbled to have been awarded the top prize, especially against the so many wonderful blogs which have been shortlisted. It’s a fantastic recognition of my efforts as a blogger and I’d like to thank the many people who read and interact with my blog for their support and inspiration.” Mona, who is completing her final year of a creative writing BA Connect Degree in NUI Galway, began writing her blog just over 18 months ago. It has attracted a growing following and brought her to the notice of The Sunday Times who offered her a weekly column in May 2012. Together with her husband Ron, she has recently published her first book, The Chef and I- A nourishing narrative. Part memoir part cookbook it depicts their life together and the many wonderful meals they have shared as a family. ENDS

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Vital information on the proposed changes to the constitution, in advance of the forthcoming Children’s Referendum, will be presented at a public event at NUI Galway on Monday, 22 October. Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will deliver the keynote address. The seminar is expected to provide a stimulating dialogue about the implications of a YES vote in the Children’s Referendum, ahead of the 10 November vote. The seminar will be held in the Engineering Building in NUI Galway from 3pm - 4.30 pm and is jointly hosted by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and the School of Law of NUI Galway, in conjunction with the YES for Children Campaign. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD will provide a keynote address. The session will also feature an expert panel consisting of Fergal Landy from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and Ciara Smyth from the School of Law at NUI Galway. The panel discussion will also offer members of the public an opportunity to hear a youth perspective on the proposed constitutional amendments and the audience will be invited to participate in a questions and answers session following the discussion. The Children’s Referendum has been welcomed by Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway as an “historical and internationally significant step”. Professor Dolan was co-author of a report on the proposed referendum earlier this year which pointed out that “incorporating a stronger commitment to children’s rights in the constitution would help to build a stronger culture of children’s rights in Irish society”. Professor Dolan will facilitate next week's event. This event is free of charge and all members of the public are invited to attend. Parking is available on the NUI Galway park and ride facility. For further information please visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie, or contact Danielle Kennan at: danielle.kennan@nuigalway.ie or +353 (0)91 495731. -ends-

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Medical Education to Embrace the Creative Arts The NUI Galway Medical Orchestra was last night (Monday, 15 October) officially launched as a Special Study Module at the Clinical Science Institute on the grounds of University Hospital Galway. The Medical Orchestra at NUI Galway has been in existence for over a year and it has already established itself as a very positive initiative with a number of high profile public performances. The orchestra is open to students across the Schools of Medicine, Nursing & Midwifery and Health Sciences and students may select the orchestra to attain academic credit or simply participate for their personal satisfaction, enjoyment and development. Speaking at the launch, Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “This is once again a great initiative for NUI Galway which supports our holistic approach towards medical education and our contribution to the wider community. I am very confident that this will be a very popular SSM and look forward to the musical outputs and enjoyment over time.” Musical Director for the medical orchestra is well known musician, composerand arranger,Carl Hession. Orchestra producer,Mary Mc Partlan, said: “The Medical Orchestra brings very new and important dimensions and opportunities for the students at NUI Galway to engage with the creative arts, including access to academic modules where they can experience the creative arts process at a deeper level and obtain credits in first and second year programmes. The School of Medicine at NUI Galway has broken new ground by offering formal academic credit to medical students who choose to join the Orchestra as a Special Study Module (SSM).” The special study module, which will be optional for students of the Schools of Medicine, Nursing & Midwifery and Health Sciences, will also include a "From the Heart" guest speaker, usually a consultant medical practitioner, giving a half hour reflection based on their own personal experience on the impact of creativity and the importance of music in their work and life. Dr Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education at NUI Galway and Director of the Special Study Module programme, commented: “We are delighted to recognise the importance of the creative arts in the professional maturation of student doctors by granting academic credit to their involvement in the very successful Medical Orchestra. I am very hopeful that prospective medical students will regard this initiative as yet another valid reason why they should choose to study at NUI Galway, where due attention is given to the holistic development of students’ potential. We live in an era where ever greater value is appropriately being placed on the demonstration of professional skills and attitudes amongst healthcare workers, including teamwork, time management, integrity and communication skills, all of which can be acquired in an Orchestra setting.” The medical orchestra will give two concerts - on Saturday, November 24 at Sligo General Hospital and Sunday, November 25 at Mayo General Hospital which will take place in the GMIT St Frances’s Hall, in the grounds of the hospital in Castlebar and also Hume Hall on the grounds of IT in Sligo. Called the Maureen Woods Memorial Concerts, the primary aim is to perform for the staff and patients of both hospitals and invite guest musicians from each academy to join the NUI Galway medical orchestra. ENDS

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Over 150 delegates are expected at the 5th Annual GlycoScience Ireland meeting, hosted by NUI Galway, on Friday, 19 October. With important clinical and industrial applications, glycoscience is the study of the complex sugars which cover all cells in the human body, and many of the proteins in the bloodstream. Participants from research organisations, biopharmaceutical companies and areas including medical diagnostics and functional foods are expected to attend. The next generation of glycotechnologies will be discussed during the conference, and the potential of the field to impact the Irish biosciences industry will be explored. Through various events and initiatives, GlycoScience Ireland brings together academic, industrial and clinical researchers to advance fundamental research and to develop novel technologies relevant to industry. “Ireland has been a trailblazer in this exciting field of science”, explains NUI Galway’s Professor Lokesh Joshi, leader of Glycoscience Ireland. “We can achieve medical and technological breakthroughs”, he explains, “by understanding the complex sugars at work in the body. Rapid diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, or the creation of new more effective and targeted drugs – these are just some of the hopes this area offers. There is also potential to develop, for example, the next generation of functional foods.” Among the keynote speakers are Professor Richard D. Cummings who is the William Patterson Timmie endowed Professor and Chair of the department of Biochemistry at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Professor Cummings is a well-recognized leader in glycoscience and has pioneered analytical technologies in this field. Professor Cummings will highlight the opportunities in developing novel technologies in glycomics to gain better understanding of diseases and health. Also speaking is Dr Kirk Leister, Head of New Technologies at Bristol Myers Squib. Dr Leister has over 25 years of experience in developing protein therapeutics against cancer and inflammation. In his current role, he is responsible for identifying the best technologies and products that are suitable for Bristol Myers Squid. Dr Jens Bleiel, CEO of Food for Health Ireland, will also address the audience, discussing the role of functional food in future and the importance of carbohydrates and glycoscience in this area. “With the global competition in biotechnology and biopharmaceutical research continually shifting, Ireland needs to harness the synergy of existing skills and strengthen it with new talent in order to gain a competitive edge and to remain in the leadership position in this emerging next frontier in life sciences, chemistry and information science”, claims Professor Joshi. Professor Joshi has spearheaded Ireland’s standing in the gyclosience field since he became principal investigator with the Science Foundation Ireland funded Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) at NUI Galway in 2008. Professor Joshi also leads the international project GlycoHIT, which is trying to unravel the puzzle of carbohydrate biomarkers in cancer. The GlycoHIT project is involved in the development of innovative technologies that will enable fast and accurate analysis of glycosylation (process attaching sugars to proteins and lipids) in blood samples from cancer patients. -ends-

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A seminar for social workers, concentrating on the forthcoming Children’s Rights Referendum, will be held at NUI Galway at 6pm tomorrow Thursday, 18 October, 2012. Fergal Landy of the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway will discuss with social workers the theme of rights based practice and the constitutional referendum. According to Fergal Landy: “The children’s rights referendum, along with other planned reforms, is a welcome first step in developing a safer system of child protection and family support, capable of improving outcomes for all children, young people and their families.” The event is organised by the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, which offers a Masters in Social Work. For further information please contact Declan Coogan at 091 495373 or declanp.coogan@nuigalway.ie A further event on the forthcoming Children’s Referendum, aimed at the general public, will take place on Monday, 22 October from 3-4.30 pm. Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will deliver the keynote address at Monday's event. -ends-

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The eminent economist and former Secretary of the Department of Finance, Dr T.K. Whitaker, was warmly received at NUI Galway today as the University announced the establishment of the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change. Dr Whitaker played an instrumental role in devising the economic plan, which set Ireland on the road to regeneration in the early 1960s. Drawing inspiration from his unparalleled service to Ireland, the newly formed Whitaker Institute serves as the country’s largest research body focused on contemporary and relevant business, social and policy issues. Over 200 members make up the faculty with expertise spanning across the College of Business, Public Policy and Law and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. Subsuming the University’s Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC), the Whitaker Institute builds on a decade of research-excellence and policy-focused contributions supported by over €11 million in competitive national and international research funding. The Whitaker Institute applies a multi-perspective research approach to business and social issues, with an impact-led focus at the core of its endeavours. One of its key values is the promotion of a sustainable and inclusive society, influenced by the broad dissemination of rigorous and relevant research. Furthermore, the Whitaker Institute seeks to continue the tradition at NUI Galway of critically pursuing knowledge discovery that stimulates academic debates and opens public conversation to advance the greater good. Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Whitaker Institute, expressed the great honour he shared with Institute members at the endorsement of Dr Whitaker. “The Whitaker Institute brings together our talented research communities in business and social sciences that are committed to research excellence and to sharing their knowledge and expertise with wider communities nationally and internationally,” he stated. “It is a great honour for our research community to name the Institute after Dr Whitaker as his achievements, influence and contributions to this nation are in keeping with what we are seeking to achieve as Ireland rebuilds its economy and reimages its society.” Dr Whitaker is regarded as a pivotal figure in the economic and social development of modern Ireland. During his long and illustrious career, he was Secretary of the Department of Finance, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, and founder of the Economic and Social Research Institute. He was also a member of Seanad Éireann from 1977 to 1982 and Chancellor of the National University of Ireland from 1976 to 1996. The Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, inspired by the legacy of this pioneering statesperson, aims to adopt a similarly innovative approach to the challenges currently facing society, both in Ireland and internationally. Welcoming the establishment of the Whitaker Institute, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Dr T.K. Whitaker’s strategy for Ireland’s expansion in the 1960s transformed Irish society at the time. Today, we face similar social and economic challenges. Much like the figure after which it is named, the Whitaker Institute will lead academic research into innovation and change. We believe that the knowledge and insights which will emerge from the Institute have the potential to change Irish society and in so doing honour the achievements of Dr Whitaker.” The Whitaker Institute was officially signed into being this morning, and there are plans for an official public launch in 2013. For more information, visit www.nuigalway.ie/whitakerinstitute -ends- Institiúid Whitaker bunaithe ag OÉ Gaillimh Déardaoin, 18 Deireadh Fómhair 2012: Cuireadh fáilte chroíúil roimh an eacnamaí aitheanta agus iar-Rúnaí na Roinne Airgeadais an Dr T.K. Whitaker in OÉ Gaillimh inniu nuair a d’fhógair an Ollscoil bunú Institiúid Whitaker don Nuálaíocht agus don Athrú Sóisialta.    Bhí ról tábhachtach ag an Dr Whitaker i gcur le chéile plean eacnamaíoch a thug an tír seo slán as an ngéarchéim ina raibh sí i dtús na 1960idí Spreagtha ag a sheirbhís den scoth d’Éirinn, is é Institiúid nuabhunaithe Whitaker an comhlacht is mó taighde sa tír atá dírithe ar cheisteanna comhaimseartha cuí gnó, sóisialta agus polasaí. Tá breis is 200 comhalta sa dámh agus tá tobar an tsaineolais aici ó Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí agus ó Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh. Tiocfaidh an tIonad um Nuálaíocht agus um Athrú Struchtúrtha (CISC) faoi cheannas Institiúid Whitaker agus úsáidfidh an Institiúid an feabhas taighde a rinneadh san Ionad sin le deich mbliana anuas mar aon leis an obair dírithe ar bheartas a fuair maoiniú taighde náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta os cionn €11 milliún. Cur chuige taighde ilpheirspictíoch atá ag Institiúid Whitaker maidir le ceisteanna gnó agus sóisialta, agus beidh béim ar thionchar mar chroílár a saothair Ceann de phríomhluachanna na hInstitiúide sochaí inmharthana agus chuimsitheach a chur chun cinn, de thoradh ar thaighde cuí domhain a scaipeadh go forleathan. Sa bhreis air sin, tá sé mar aidhm ag Institiúid Whitaker cur leis an traidisiún in OÉ Gaillimh trí fhionnachtain eolais a lorg chun díospóireachtaí acadúla a spreagadh agus comhráite poiblí a thosú ar son leasa na sochaí. Léirigh an Dr James Cunningham, Stiúrthóir Institiúid Whitaker, an onóir a bhraith sé i measc chomhaltaí na hInstitiúide agus iad ag tacú leis an Dr Whitaker. “Tugann Institiúid Whitaker le chéile tallann na bpobal taighde i ngnó agus in eolaíochtaí sóisialta, tallann atá tugtha d’fheabhas taighde agus d’eolas agus saineolas a roinnt leis an bpobal náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta,” a deir sé. Is mór an onóir don phobal taighde an Institiúid a ainmniú i ndiaidh an Dr Whitaker, mar go bhfuil a chuid éachtaí, a thionchar agus a chuid oibre ar son na tíre seo ag teacht leis an méid atáimid ag iarraidh a bhaint amach le hathbheochan a dhéanamh ar gheilleagar na tíre agus an tsochaí a fheabhsú.” Feictear an Dr Whitaker mar dhuine mór le rá i bhforbairt eacnamaíoch agus shóisialta na hÉireann sa lá atá inniu ann.  Bhí gairm fhada cháiliúil aige - bhí sé ina Rúnaí ar an Roinn Airgeadais, ina Ghobharnóir ar Bhanc Ceannais na hÉireann, agus ba é a bhunaigh an Institiúid Taighde Eacnamaíochta agus Sóisialta (ESRI). Bhí sé ina chomhalta de Sheanad Éireann chomh maith ó 1977 go 1982 agus ina Sheansailéir ar Ollscoil na hÉireann ó 1976 go 1996. Tá sé mar aidhm le hInstitiúid Whitaker don Nuálaíocht agus don Athrú Sóisialta, spreagtha ag oidhreacht an cheannródaí féin, cur chuige nuálach den chineál céanna a ghlacadh chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar na dúshláin atá os ár gcomhair faoi láthair, anseo in Éirinn agus thar lear. Ag fáiltiú roimh bhunú Institiúid Whitaker, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Rinne straitéis an Dr T.K. Whitaker d’fhorleathnú na hÉireann sna 1960idí athrú ó bhun ar shochaí na hÉireann ag an am. Sa lá atá inniu ann, tá orainn aghaidh a thabhairt ar dhúshláin shóisialta agus eacnamaíochta den chineál céanna. Cosúil le Whitaker féin, beidh Institiúid Whitaker chun cinn sa taighde acadúil ar nuálaíocht agus ar athrú. Creidimid go bhféadfadh an t-eolas agus an léargas a thiocfaidh ón Institiúid sochaí na hÉireann a athrú agus is iontach an onóir a bheadh ansin d’éachtaí an Dr Whitaker.” Bunaíodh Institiúid Whitaker go hoifigiúil ar maidin, agus tá sé i gceist í a sheoladh go poiblí in 2013. Tá tuilleadh eolais le fáil ag www.nuigalway.ie/whitakerinstitute -críoch-

Friday, 19 October 2012

NUI Galway recently celebrated the success of a select group of first-year students with a special ceremony on Thursday, 18 October, in recognition of the high points they achieved in the recent Leaving Certificate Examination. As part of the University's annual Excellence Scholarships, 65 students received €2,000 each, along with a specially designed NUI Galway scroll. Each year the Excellence Scholarships are given to new entrants at NUI Galway who reached a minimum of 560 points in their Leaving Certificate examination, except in Medicine. For Medical students 10 Scholarships were awarded certificates, based on the combined results in the Leaving Certificate and the new Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). The Excellence Scholarships are designed to recognise and reward Leaving Cert success for the highest-achieving students, and encourage their ongoing commitment to academic excellence during their time at NUI Galway. The awards may be held with any other scholarships or grants, including the University's Postgraduate Scholarships, Mature Student Scholarships, Sports Scholarship Scheme and schemes specific to individual colleges for those who excel in their University exams. Speaking at the award ceremony, NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne, who presented the cheques to each individual winner, said: “I am delighted to present the scholarships to these 65 outstanding individuals in recognition of their academic talent. NUI Galway constantly strives to support and promote academic excellence across all disciplines. The purpose of these Awards is to encourage each student to develop his/her academic potential to the fullest, by setting a realistic threshold of excellence and rewarding every student who attains that level. It is also a chance to give due credit to their parents and teachers for their important contribution to such success.” This year Excellence Scholarships were awarded to students from 44 individual schools throughout Ireland. The winners represented 15 counties including Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Waterford. -ENDS-

Friday, 19 October 2012

Almost 4,000 students will graduate from NUI Galway during the Autumn Conferring Ceremonies which take place from 19-26 October. NUI Galway will also confer five Honorary Masters Degrees during the ceremonies on Seán Beattie, Helen Meehan, Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha, Tom McSweeney and Jim Murren. Seán Beattie - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa:  Originally from Derry, Seán taught at second-level school in Derry before becoming a Guidance Counsellor in Carndonagh Community School, Donegal.  A member of Donegal Historical Society and the Ulster Local History Trust,   he has published several books on Donegal local history and contributed articles to journals and newspapers. Helen Meehan - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: From Donegal, Helen is a retired primary school teacher.  She is recognised as an expert in folklore, genealogy and local history in County Donegal.  A published author, she is currently President of the Donegal Historical Society and a contributor to local TV and radio news. Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Sean-nós singer from Aird Thiar in Carna. He has won Corn Uí Riada three times.  He has numerous recordings completed. He also has a wide knowledge of folklore and the traditions of Iorras Aithneach. He has toured Scotland and North Africa. He was the University singer in residence in the Irish Studies Centre in 2002. Tom McSweeney - Honorary Masters of Science honoris causa: Former RTÉ regional correspondent for Cork, in 1998 was RTÉ’s first Marine Correspondent, reporting on fishing and industries, leisure marine industry and coastal nature of Ireland on TV news, contributions to Nationwide and particularly the radio programme, Seascapes, for over 1000 programmes. Tom won Maritime Person of the Year in 2008.  An experienced sailor, he completed the Round Ireland Race twice, and sailed the Atlantic from Florida to the UK.  Tom retired from RTÉ in 2010, and runs Seascapes Maritime Media and is Special Correspondent with The Marine Times. Jim Murren- Honorary Masters in Commerce honoris causa: Former Regional Manager for Industrial Development Authority (IDA) western region and Committee member of Galway Science and Technology Forum, Mayo County Development Board, Galway City Community Forum, Galway County Development Board and Galway 2040. Commenting on the conferring of this year's graduands, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. This week we are proud to honour Seán Beattie, Helen Meehan, Tom MacSweeney, Jim Murren and Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha.  Each of these honorees share a passion for our region and its development. Whether by chronicling local history in Donegal, pioneering the development of the marine sector, championing the industrial potential of the West, or by nurturing the song tradition of the Gaeltacht each of these worthy individuals has enriched the life of our region.  NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise their exceptional talents and achievements.” The annual Autumn Conferring Ceremonies will begin with the Adult and Continuing Education ceremonies, where awards will be conferred on over 900 students who completed their certificate, diploma and degree courses at many locations across the country. -ENDS-

Friday, 19 October 2012

Award-winning American poet, writer and political activist to read at NUI Galway Amiri Baraka, the award-winning American poet, writer and political activist, will visit NUI Galway this week. On Thursday 25 October, the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, in association with the Arts in Action ‘Jazz Day Out’ at NUI Galway, will host a reading by Amiri Baraka. The writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays and jazz criticism, Amiri Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in 1934 in Newark, New Jersey. He moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1957 and founded Totem Press, which first published works by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and others.  He moved to Harlem in 1965 where he founded the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School. His reputation as a playwright was established with the production of Dutchman at Cherry Lane Theatre in New York in 1964. The controversial play subsequently won an Obie Award for Best Off-Broadway Play and was made into a film. The author of several volumes of poetry, an autobiography, and numerous essays on culture, music and politics, Baraka also founded the jazz/poetry ensemble Blue Ark. In 1994, Amiri Baraka retired as Professor of Africana Studies at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, and in 2002 was named Poet Laureate of New Jersey and Newark Public Schools. In the fall of 2002, Baraka came under fire from the New Jersey office of the Anti-Defamation League, the New Jersey Assembly and others after a reading of his controversial poem ‘Somebody Blew Up America’ about the 9/11 attacks. According to Professor Sean Ryder, Chair of English and Acting Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway: “Amiri Baraka has been a cultural catalyst in the US for over 50 years, impacting upon and inspiring writers, students and the wider public. We are thrilled that he is coming to our campus, and our students of English are enthused about meeting in person an author they study and admire.” Amiri Baraka’s numerous literary honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and many others. His book Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Musicwas selected as a winner of the 31st annual American Book Awards for 2010. The reading, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 5pm in the O’Flaherty Theatre in the Arts/Science Building. -ends-

Monday, 22 October 2012

Abbey/NUI Galway launch ground-breaking digital archive partnership  A Digital Journey through Irish Theatre History, the Abbey/NUI Galway digital archive partnership, was launched today, Monday, 22 October 2012 by President Michael D. Higgins in the Abbey Theatre. It is the largest digital theatre project ever undertaken, and heralds a new era of scholarship for Irish theatre internationally. The Abbey archive, which contains over 1.8 million items, is one of the world’s most significant archival collections. It has a wealth of extraordinary and unique material providing a fascinating insight into Irish theatre, history, culture and society. The archival material ranges from show posters, programmes, photographs, minute books to lighting plans, set and costume designs, sound cues, prompt scripts and audio files. Celebrating the launch, Fiach MacConghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre said:  “It’s been a long cherished ambition of the Abbey Theatre to preserve our archive. The digitised archive will help scholars and historians to write the history of the Abbey in greater detail. The Abbey archive is a major resource for Irish theatre and will help us celebrate the unheralded artists, actors, writers who have worked at the Abbey over the years. It will also inspire the next generation of theatre makers. We are excited to partner with NUI Galway and to have arts and science disciplines come together in this way.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said:  “As East meets West, and the creative arts and scholarship combine, this project will see the most advanced digital technology brought to bear on one of the country’s most historic theatre archives. This digitisation project is based on an awareness of the importance of the Abbey Theatre for the social, cultural and economic history of this country – not to mention its ongoing significance for Ireland and the international community as one of the key national theatres in the world. “The benefits to our students and researchers of having direct access to this rich national collection will be immense. There is also great interest in the digital archive abroad and it will draw researchers of international repute to Ireland.” The earliest item in the Abbey archive actually precedes the founding of the Abbey Theatre.  It is an 1894 poster of the first production of The Land of Heart’s Desire by W.B. Yeats, which was performed at the Avenue Theatre in London and is reflective of Yeats’ ambition to present Irish theatre outside Ireland.  Other archival gems reveal that Éamon De Valera trod the Abbey stage as Dr. Kelly in an amateur production of A Christmas Hamper in 1905.   Even our own Irish James Bond had a presence on the Abbey stage when in 1964 Donal McCann played Seamus Bond with Angela Newman as Puísín in the Christmas pantomime Aisling as Tír na nÓg. Part of the Abbey Archive was damaged as a result of the devastating effects of the fire of 1951 and some archival artefacts are in a fragile condition due to age.  The digitised archive will change our understanding of Irish drama. The history of Irish drama is largely understood to be the history of Irish plays – of the written script. As a full multimedia archive, the digital archive will provide researchers with access to the complete range of materials associated with theatre performance: not just the scripts but also the visual materials (costume, set, and lighting designs), sound materials (music scores, sound effects), and the supporting materials (adverts, press releases, reviews). This digitisation project which began in September, will take place over a three to four -year period.  The digitisation process, which is currently taking place on the NUI Galway campus, will bring together multidisciplinary teams of the University’s researchers, students and archivists to realise this exciting project. The digitisation project is unique in that it highlights two of the most important features of contemporary Ireland: the richness of its cultural traditions and its capacity for technological innovation.  NUI Galway is ideally positioned to capitalise on those strengths, as it brings both international expertise in Irish theatre and digital humanities to the project. The Moore Institute for the Humanities and Social Studies at NUI Galway is home to several major digital humanities projects, including the EU-funded TEXTE initiative; while its Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) is the world’s largest research institute dedicated to internet technology-based research. Researchers at both of these institutes, together with archivists and librarians from the James Hardiman Library, will work together to ensure the very latest technology is used to illuminate the past. The digital Abbey archive will be a major addition to the existing collection of literary and cultural archives at NUI Galway. The Archive Collection at the University’s James Hardiman Library comprises over 350 collections, dating from 1485 to the present. Theatre collections include the papers of Thomas Kilroy and the Shields Family Collection, featuring the Abbey actor Arthur Shields and there is a particular focus on the archives of companies such as the Druid Theatre, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe and the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast. A new Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research facility will open at the heart of the campus in 2013, providing the perfect home for this significant collection. Students of the new undergraduate degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, as well as a new PhD programme in Irish Drama will encourage a new wave of young researchers from Ireland and abroad to come to Galway to learn about Yeats, Synge, Lady Gregory and the many other great writers associated with the Abbey. The University has also introduced two new fully-funded PhD fellowships dedicated to research in Irish Theatre to give an immediate boost to the research team working on the Archive project. To view the Abbey Theatre/NUI Galway digital archive partnership website click here. -ENDS-   Seolann Amharclann na Mainistreach/OÉ Gaillimh comhpháirtíocht cheannródaíoch i gcartlann dhigiteach  Sheol an tUachtarán, Micheál D. Ó hUiginn, A Digital Journey through Irish Theatre History, comhpháirtíocht i gcartlann dhigiteach idir Amharclann na Mainistreach/OÉ Gaillimh, inniu, Dé Luain, an 22 Deireadh Fómhair 2012 in Amharclann na Mainistreach. Is é seo an tionscadal digiteach amharclannaíochta is mó a rinneadh riamh agus léiríonn sé ré nua scoláireachta d’amharclannaíocht na hÉireann ar fud an domhain. Tá breis is 1.8 milliún mír i gcartlann na Mainistreach agus tá sí ar cheann de na bailiúcháin chartlainne is tábhachtaí ar domhan. Tá ábhar uathúil agus thar a bheith suimiúil inti a thugann léargas spéisiúil ar amharclannaíocht, stair, cultúr agus sochaí na hÉireann. Tá idir phóstaeir thaispeántais, chláir, ghrianghraif, mhiontuairiscí, phleananna soilsithe, dhearaí stáitse agus culaithe, leideanna fuaime, scripteanna leide agus chomhaid fuaime sa chartlann. Dúirt Fiach Mac Conghail, Stiúrthóir Amharclann na Mainistreach, agus an seoladh á cheiliúradh aige: “Bhí sé mar aidhm mhór le fada ag Amharclann na Mainistreach ár gcartlann a chaomhnú. Beidh an chartlann dhigitithe ina áis mhór ag scoláirí agus ag staraithe chun cuntas níos mionsonraithe a scríobh ar stair na Mainistreach. Is mór an acmhainn í cartlann na Mainistreach d’amharclannaíocht na hÉireann agus cuideoidh sí linn ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar na healaíontóirí, na haisteoirí agus na scríbhneoirí sin nach bhfuair an oiread sin aitheantais agus a bhí ag obair sa Mhainistir in imeacht na mblianta. Tabharfaidh sí spreagadh freisin don chéad glúin amharclannóirí eile. Is cúis mhór áthais dúinn é a bheith i gcomhar le hOllscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh agus disciplíní na n-ealaíon agus na heolaíochta a bheith á snaidhmeadh le chéile ar an dóigh seo.” Dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán, OÉ Gaillimh:  “Sa chomhpháirtíocht seo idir an tOirthear agus an tIarthar, idir na healaíona cruthaitheacha agus an scoláireacht, cuirfidh Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh teicneolaíocht dhigiteach is nua-aimseartha i bhfeidhm sa tionscadal seo atá ar cheann de na cartlanna amharclannaíochta is stairiúla sa tír. Tá an tionscadal digitithe seo bunaithe ar an tuiscint go bhfuil tábhacht le hAmharclann na Mainistreach ó thaobh stair shóisialta, chultúir agus eacnamaíoch na tíre – gan trácht ar a stádas sa tír seo agus sa domhan mór mar cheann de na hamharclanna náisiúnta is tábhachtaí ar domhan.” “Bainfidh ár mic léinn agus ár dtaighdeoirí leas as rochtain dhíreach a bheith acu ar an mbailiúchán saibhir náisiúnta seo. Tá an-suim léirithe sa chartlann dhigiteach thar lear agus meallfaidh sé taighdeoirí mór le rá ar fud an domhain go hÉirinn.” Tá an rud is sine i gcartlann na Mainistreach níos sine ná an Amharclann féin.  Póstaer ó 1894 atá ann den chéad léiriú de The Land of Heart’s Desire le W.B. Yeats a cuireadh ar stáitse san Avenue Theatre i Londain agus léiríonn sé mian Yeats’ amharclannaíocht na hÉireann a chur ar stáitse thar lear.    I measc na míreanna luachmhara eile sa chartlann léirítear go raibh Éamon De Valera ar stáitse san Amharclann mar Dr. Kelly i léiriú amaitéarach de A Christmas Hamper i 1905.    Bhí James Bond na hÉireann ar stáitse fiú san Amharclann i 1964, nuair a bhí an pháirt Seamus Bond ag Donal McCann agus Angela Newman mar Phuisín i ngeamaireacht na Nollag Aisling as Tír na nÓg. Scriosadh cuid de Chartlann na Mainistreach de bharr tine i 1951 agus tá cuid den ábhar is sine sa chartlann an-leochaileach.  Tá an tionscadal digitithe uathúil mar go gcuireann sé béim ar phéire de na gnéithe is tábhachtaí in Éirinn sa lá atá inniu ann: saibhreas na dtraidisiún cultúrtha agus an cumas do nuálaíocht theicniúil.  Tá OÉ Gaillimh ullmhaithe go maith le cur leis na láidreachtaí sin mar go bhfuil saineolas idirnáisiúnta againn in amharclannaíocht na hÉireann agus sna daonnachtaí digiteacha. Is in Institiúid de Móra do na Daonnachtaí agus don Léann Sóisialta in OÉ Gaillimh atá go leor de na tionscadail digitithe is mó sna daonnachtaí, cosúil le tionscnamh TEXTE atá maoinithe ag AE; agus is í an Institiúid Taighde um Fhiontraíocht Dhigiteach (DERI) an institiúid taighde is mó ar domhan atá tiomanta do thaighde bunaithe ar theicneolaíocht idirlín. Oibreoidh taighdeoirí ón dá institiúid le cartlannaithe agus leabharlannaithe ó Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin chun a chinntiú go n-úsáidfear an teicneolaíocht is nua-aimseartha chun an t-am atá caite a léiriú arís. Athróidh an Chartlann dhigitithe ár dtuiscint ar dhrámaíocht na hÉireann go deo. Feictear go forleathan stair na drámaíochta in Éirinn mar stair na ndrámaí - stair na scripteanna scríofa. Mar chartlann iomlán ilmheáin, tabharfaidh an chartlann dhigiteach rochtain do thaighdeoirí ar an réimse iomlán ábhar a bhaineann le léiriú amharclannaíochta: ní scripteanna amháin a bheidh i gceist, ach ina theannta sin beidh físábhar (culaith, stáitse, agus dearaí soilse), ábhar fuaime (scór ceoil, maisíochtaí fuaime), agus an t-ábhar tacaíochta (fógraí, preasráitis, léirmheasanna). Mairfidh an tionscadal digitithe seo a thosaigh i Meán Fómhair idir trí agus ceithre bliana.  Tabharfaidh an próiseas digitithe atá ar champas OÉ Gaillimh faoi láthair le chéile foirne ildisciplíneacha de thaighdeoirí, mic léinn agus cartlannaithe na hOllscoile chun an tionscadal iontach seo a chur i gcrích. Cuirfidh cartlann dhigiteach na Mainistreach go mór le cartlanna liteartha eile OÉ Gaillimh. Sa Chartlann i Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin san Ollscoil tá breis is 350 bailiúchán ó 1485 go dtí an lá atá inniu. Sna bailiúcháin tá páipéir de chuid Thomas Kilroy agus Teaghlach Shields,  agus tá aisteoir na Mainistreach Arthur Shields luaite anseo. Tá béim ar leith ar chartlann na gcompántas ar nós Amharclann Druid, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe agus amharclann Lyric Players i mBéal Feirste. Osclóidh áis Taighde sna Dána, sna Daonnachtaí agus sna hEolaíochtaí Sóisialta i lár an champais in 2013, agus is ann a choinneofar an bailiúchán tábhachtach seo. Idir an chéim nua i nDrámaíocht, Amharclannaíocht agus Taibhiú in OÉ Gaillimh agus an clár nua PhD i nDrámaíocht na hÉireann spreagfar glúin nua taighdeoirí óga in Éirinn agus i bhfad i gcéin le teacht go Gaillimh agus foghlaim faoi Yeats, Synge, Lady Gregory agus na scríbhneoirí móra eile a bhí bainteach le hAmharclann na Mainistreach. Tá tús curtha freisin ag an Ollscoil le dhá chomhaltacht nua PhD atá maoinithe go hiomlán le taighde a dhéanamh ar Amharclannaíocht na hÉireann chun tacú láithreach leis an bhfoireann taighde atá ag obair ar thionscadal na Cartlainne. CRÍOCH  

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The 15th Galway Science and Technology Festival was launched yesterday, Monday 22 October, in the Engineering Building at NUI Galway by Gerard Kilcommins, VP of Global Vascular Operations and General Manager Galway Site Medtronic, the Festival’s Main Sponsor. The free two-week event runs from the 12–25 November and includes shows and activities for primary and secondary school students and a family day out at the Final Day Exhibition on Sunday 25 November at NUI Galway. There is huge interest already in this year’s Festival following the success of last year when over 90 Primary Schools, encompassing over 15,000 students, and 24 Secondary Schools encompassing 6,000 students, enjoyed shows at their schools. Last year’s Festival culminated in the Final Day Exhibition at NUI Galway attracting over 20,000 visitors to the 80 interactive stands and 14 separate shows. This year there will be 20 separate shows. The Festival aims to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people by bringing shows to schools throughout Galway city and county over the two-week event. The Final Day Exhibition on the 25th November has once again been expanded as a result of the large attendance in 2011 and will host 80 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment. It will take place at the Bailey Allen Hall, Orbsen and IT Buildings and has expanded to the Aula Maxima and new Engineering Building at NUI Galway. There is an amazing programme of events to choose from including three brand new shows, Dr Ken’s Entertaining Science Circus Show where students will learn how circus performers make use of scientific principles in their tricks and stunts. Jumping Clay by Jim Daly an education programme for 3D clay modelling, that can be used in animation or just making popular art and Exploring Cells for 5th and 6th class  students is a hands on practice of cellular and molecular biology for budding explorers. Popular shows making a welcome return to schools again this year include the K’nex Roadshow, which is based on a dynamic open ended spatial building system and Blackrock Castle Observatory’s StarDome where students can discover the wonders of the night sky in their own school hall. Jane McLoughlin’s Fun with Science presents easy science experiments and use of recycled materials and everyday foods to learn about science. See and experience the the magic of radio with a Galway Bay FM School Tour for your class and experience the technology involved in producing a live radio programme, or visit the National Computer and Communications Museum, which provides a fascinating insight to the development of communications and computing technology from ancient heiroglyphics to today’s internet. NUI Galway is running many interesting shows and events to stimulate the mind including 3-D Tours of the Universe at the Centre of Astronomy, which will take the audience on a trip from the earth to nearby starts, across our Galaxy to groups of stars, and finally through the whole Universe. The School of Chemistry at NUI Galway is running a Primary Schools Outreach programme, Kitchen Chemistry, aimed at introducing primary school children to the exciting world of Chemistry and the Zoology Museum and the Computer Museum will also be open on the day. GMIT, currently celebrating their 40th anniversary, will host interesting workshops for students including Skin Deep, which demonstrates how transdermal skin patches work, How Engines Work ‘The Visible Stirling Engine’ and the return of the very popular Forensics Workshop looking at Poisons and Forgeries. Gerard Kilcommins, VP of Global Vascular Operations and General Manager Galway Site Medtronic commented: “Medtronic became the main sponsor of the Galway Science and Technology Festival over ten years ago.  Since then, we are delighted to have experienced the journey that has seen the event evolve and flourish into one of the highlights in the calendars of the educational and science communities.  This year’s theme is “Everybody Experimenting” and experimentation is something that makes Science and Technology so fascinating. Engaging the younger generation throughout this festival about the wonders and possibilities of Science and Technology will help ensure we have the pool of talented scientists and engineers so necessary for Ireland’s future success as a nation. As Thomas A. Edison once said, ‘to have a great idea, have a lot of them’ and I have no doubt the action-packed programme over the next couple of weeks will generate lots of ideas and open minds to the many great possibilities and opportunities out there.” Galway Science and Technology Festival Chairman, Tom Hyland added: “On behalf of the Board of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, I would like to thank our main sponsor Medtronic who for the last 11 years has been a wonderful sponsor of this event, which has grown and developed into a very significant vehicle for the promotion of the STEM subjects to our young people. We also appreciate the support of our partners Galway Enterprise Board, Discover Science and Engineering, Cisco and Boston Scientific who help bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the city and county.”  Professor Tom Sherry, Dean of Science at NUI Galway said: “Around the world, Ireland’s reputation for technology, research and innovation is growing year by year. Galway’s annual Science & Technology Festival is a great opportunity to provide future generations of third level students with an enthralling experience of the boundless possibilities and the sheer fun of science and technology.   We hope that the exciting festival line-up will inspire many of our young visitors both to make their future careers in science and technology and to help to continue Ireland’s burgeoning success.” The Programme of events is available at www.galwayscience.ie and the Festival Exhibition will open at 10am on Sunday, 25November. Bookings can be made at www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com to help people plan their day.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Leading scholars of Irish drama will gather in Galway this week for the Irish Society for Theatre Research (ISTR) annual conference. Entitled Perform, or Else!, the conference will take place at NUI Galway from 26-28 October. The conference will feature the latest international thinking on the historical, contemporary and future roles of Irish theatre. It will showcase research across many themes, such as Archives and Performance; Theatre and Memory; Capitalism and Theatre Performance; and Aesthetics, Irish drama and/or Irish Theatre History. Rebecca Schneider, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies at Brown University, will deliver a keynote address. Author of The Explicit Body in Performance and Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment, Professor Schneider will deliver her lecture on how her most recent research applies to the Irish context. Second keynote speaker at the conference will be Dr Mark Phelan, Lecturer in Drama at Queens University Belfast. Dr Phelan will present his recent work involving Irish theatre history and historiography, which had been published in such international journals as Modern Drama and Theatre Journal. The event coincides with important developments in NUI Galway’s theatre studies curricula and research resources. NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library boasts an extensive collection of theatre archives, including the Druid, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, Macnas and Belfast Lyric Theatre as well as the papers of Abbey actor Arthur Shields and playwright Thomas Kilroy. The recent announcement of the Abbey Theatre/NUI Galway Digitisation partnership further strengthens NUI Galway’s status as one of the world’s great Irish theatre theatre archives. This year NUI Galway also launched its new BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, taking in the first cohort of students in September. This programme provides a unique opportunity to study drama, theatre and performance from practical, theoretical and historical perspectives in Galway, a hub for Irish and international arts festivals and events. Dr Patrick Lonergan, Director of the BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at NUI Galway, said: “A huge amount has been happening at NUI Galway recently. We have established a very strong partnership with Druid Theatre, and that is having a massive impact on how we teach students on our new BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance and our MA in Drama and Theatre programmes. The Abbey Digitization project will have a huge effect on archival research in the University too. By hosting a conference that will bring together the world’s leading scholars of Irish drama at this exciting time, we will have a great opportunity to plan for future developments.” Dr Lonergan is also the Director of NUI Galway’s MA in Drama and Theatre Studies and the BA Connect with Theatre and Performance.  He is the author of The Theatre and Films of Martin McDonagh and the award-winning Theatre and Globalization: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger Era (2010). Dr Lonergan will also present a paper entitled ‘Banking on Ireland’ at ISTR 2012. The conference begins at 1pm on Friday, 26 October and takes place in the New Engineering Building located in North Campus. The official conference opening at 5.30pm features a presentation on the Abbey theatre/National University of Ireland partnership project. ENDS

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Business Studies Teachers Association of Ireland (BSTAI) and NUI Galway Western Region Schools Quiz took place recently in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. Sixteen schools, with a total of 28 teams took part and competed from all over the west, to determine who would represent the region in the National Finals in March. The table quiz was held for Junior Certificate students of Business Studies. Brian Duffy, Chairperson CIMA West of Ireland Branch, said: “At CIMA our relationships with education providers have always been crucial.  We are delighted to have a leading role in this quiz which showcased the talents of second level business students in the West of Ireland.” Professor Willie Golden, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway works closely with its regional hinterland and this is nowhere more evident than in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics. A defining part of all our student courses is the engagement with the local community. Working with the BSTAI and CIMA allows us to engage with second level students and foster their interest in business studies. I have no doubt that many of these students attending the event, will be amongst our leaders of the future.” Jennie Harrington, President of the BSTAI, commented: “I am delighted that so many business studies students took part in the CIMA Schools quiz.  It is an opportunity for students to have fun while also revising for their Junior Certificate exam. I would like to thank CIMA for all their work in organising the quiz.” The winners on the night were Seamount College, Kinvara, Co. Galway, who took first place. They were followed closely in second place by Dominican College, Taylors Hill, Galway. Third place went to Presentation College, Athenry, Co. Galway. The top three teams from the regional final will now go on to compete in the national finals, which will take place in March of next year. -ENDS-

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Researchers from NUI Galway received prestigious prizes for their research posters presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Irish Pain Society, held in Galway recently.  Elaine Jennings won first prize and the Pain Research Medal for her research on the impact of stress on pain and associated alterations in the body’s so-called endocannabinoid system. Dr Bright Okine won third prize for his characterisation of changes in a nuclear receptor signaling system during pain. Both researchers work within Pharmacology and Therapeutics and the NCBES Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway under the supervision of Dr David Finn and Dr Michelle Roche.  The winning research projects were funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology. The research competition was judged by a panel of international experts who commended the high quality of the research.  NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research has an impressive track record in this competition, winning the Pain Research Medal on five occasions in the last six years. Leading experts on the assessment and management of headache and pain affecting the face and mouth attended the Annual Scientific Meeting. Coinciding with the Global Year Against Headache, the meeting heard about new advances in the diagnosis and treatment of common, but often debilitating conditions such as migraine and less common conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia which is associated with severe facial pain. Clinical experts and scientists from a range of professional disciplines such as pain medicine, surgery, nursing, physiotherapy and psychology presented their research findings to an audience of scientists and health practitioners.  Dr David Finn, Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research and member of the Irish Pain Society’s committee, said: “We are very pleased that the meeting in Galway was so well-attended. The quality of the presentations was excellent and we are particularly pleased to see these prizes awarded to researchers at NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) and James Hardiman Library’s Civic Engagement Book Collection will be launched by Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience, in the Library foyer on Thursday, 8 November at 3.30pm. This collection of books incorporates diverse aspects of civic engagement and contains books from a wide range of disciplines and will act as a central reference point for all materials in this field. It is envisaged that this collection will be a valuable resource to those who seek to integrate and promote civic engagement within and without the University. Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Project coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway continues to highlight its leadership in the area of university engagement with community through civic engagement. We at the CKI are delighted that the James Hardiman Library has established itself as a site of knowledge and resource excellence that will enable our student and community populations to learn broadly about aspects related to this area through this collection.” Civic Engagement is a strategic priority for NUI Galway and through the CKI the University works to promote greater civic engagement through its teaching and research. This is reinforced through the use of service learning, community based learning, volunteering and research. To visit the James Hardiman Library website go to http://www.library.nuigalway.ie/. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

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

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

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

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Athlone on Thursday, 8 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and our Bachelor of Arts with Journalism which is brand new for 2013. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Dublin, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Athlone is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Athlone, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Celine O’Donovan on 087 239 1219 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie . ENDS

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

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

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

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

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

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

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

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

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

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

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

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