Wednesday, 4 July 2012

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

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

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

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

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

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

NUI Galway Pavilion attracts thousands of visitors at Volvo Ocean Race Finale Festival The relocation of NUI Galway’s Quadrangle to the Global Village last week, created somewhat of a stir locally where the University created a partial replica of its Quadrangle building, to front its Pavilion at the Global Village during the Volvo Ocean Race. NUI Galway graduate and now President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins paid a special visit to see for himself how his Alma Mater looked in South Park. The Global Village is a free exhibition arena, open for the duration of the festival, located in South Park. The NUI Galway pavilion has been a central attraction, recreating a sense of the University’s iconic Quadrangle building, which dates back to 1845. Inside, the NUI Galway pavilion looks to the future, with interactive demonstrations and exhibitions showcasing the cutting-edge innovation and research for which the University has a world-wide reputation. “This is the largest sporting event in Ireland this year, and a wonderful opportunity to promote all that is great about Galway”, said NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne. “The event had almost 100,000 visitors to the City last time round, over half of whom came from abroad, with significant international media reach also. Our whole-hearted involvement, in the volunteering aspects of this event and in the exhibitions, is a reflection of the importance of reaching such a world-wide audience.” The NUI Galway pavilion, which will remain until the end of the festival, features four zones based on themes of Exploration, Innovation, Creativity and Go Global as well as Ideas Lab. Activities also include an Alumni Family Day to which all NUI Galway graduates are invited on Sunday, 8 July. NUI Galway has also been the official education partner of Volvo Ocean Race Galway’s volunteering programme, bringing its considerable experience in the field of volunteering and community engagement to the event to recruit the ‘small army’ of volunteers needed to support the overall festival. As well as NUI Galway having a presence in the Innovation and Marine Pillars at the Global Village, a separate Speaker Session pavilion in the Global Village has featured some of NUI Galway’s experts. In addition, the Inmarsat Film Lecture in association with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media takes place on Thursday, 5 July, presenting a unique sense of what is required of an extreme sports reporter onboard a multi-million dollar round the world racing yacht. Official Festival App The official ‘Volvo Ocean Race Festival Galway’ App, specifically designed for the event, was the creation of a team of researchers based at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway. The free app, billed as a must for all visitors to Galway during the festival, providing maps, a full festival programme and lots of visitor information about Galway City. With tens of thousands of visitors in Galway for the festival, the app allows individuals to make the most of the experience, while able to track their friends and network with groups. Vice-Director of DERI, Professor Manfred Hauswirth, said: “This app demonstrates the leading role of DERI in cyber-physical systems. DERI technology makes real-world sensor input easy to use in any application.” With over 140 researchers, DERI is the largest web science institute of its kind in the world, but were thrilled to get behind this local project as DERI’s Brian Wall explains: “We really embraced the whole concept of ‘get onboard’ for the festival, so developed this unique app which is a must for every visitor.” The app is available for free from the Apple App Store and from the Google Play Android store. The app will be updated and improved as new information becomes available so please check for updates during the festival. Find out more about the University’s involvement at http://www.nuigalway.ie/volvo-ocean-race-2012/  -ends-

Monday, 2 July 2012

Galway Arts Festival and NUI Galway announced details of their 2012 partnership on Monday, 2 July. This is the second year of the partnership and will focus on several different initiatives. NUI Galway will partner the 35th Galway Arts Festival’s Volunteer Programme where the University is one of the leaders in the field of volunteerism through its ALIVE programme. SELECTED is an artist development strand of the Festival for emerging artists and producers developed by NUI Galway and the Festival in 2011. The programme will be expanded and developed in 2012 and will see six students from the MA in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway take part in the initiative, which will allow them full access to every aspect of the Festival.  The programme will offer the students the opportunity to see how a Festival of this magnitude is put together while also attending shows, post-show talks and getting a hands-on experience from performers and organisers. The students will also have the opportunity to meet with visiting international Festival Directors. Commenting on the SELECTED Programme, Galway Arts Festival's Artistic Director, Paul Fahy said, "SELECTED is amongst the most exciting of initiatives that the Festival has introduced in the past few years. It affords participants a brilliant opportunity to see a wide variety of the programme on offer and to gain insight through a series of seminars with world leading producers, curators, directors and artists of the professional arts world. Taking part in these seminars are key executives from Edinburgh Festival, London’s National Theatre and leading Irish artists and producers amongst many others.” NUI Galway’s Dr Patrick Longergan added, “NUI Galway is delighted to be involved in the SELECTED programme again this year. SELECTED gives our students the opportunity to meet with some of the world's great artists in one of the world's great arts festivals. That involvement has a massive impact, not only on our students' education but also on their future careers as writers, directors, producers and so on. SELECTED is one of the key examples of how our drama and theatre programmes set out to blend excellent academic tuition with world-class practical experiences. It is also one of the major ways in which NUI Galway is involved in the Galway Arts Festival - allowing us to play our part in making Galway Ireland's cultural capital, and in developing future generations of Irish artists.” In 2012 NUI Galway will also partner with the Festival on a new strand of programming called First Thought Talks. This new initiative will feature a series of lectures, talks and “in conversations with” on the subject of creativity and will take place during this year’s Festival. Festival Chief Executive, John Crumlish commented, "The Festival is delighted that NUI Galway will once again be partnering the Festival on a number of initiatives. The continuing support for both the Festival Volunteer and SELECTED programmes is very important and also very exciting while the new partnership focused on The First Thought Talks will permit this new strand of programming to develop significantly over the next number of years.” For further information on the festival, bookings and GAFTV previews and exclusive interviews visit www.galwayartsfestival.com Ends    

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published the results of significant research completed by a NUI Galway research team led by Professor Martin Cormican.  The research details new links between water quality and health. The report, entitled Enhancing Human Health through Improved Water Quality, provides an overview of this research and includes new data on: How the growing global emergency of antibiotic resistant bacteria is connected to our water.  It demonstrates how widespread the problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria has become and adds to the evidence that there is a need to extend current campaigns to reduce the use of antibiotics in human and animal healthcare.  The findings of this part of the research will feature on RTE’s The Science Squad tomorrow, Thursday, 5 July, at 8.30pm. How DNA technology can be used to find disease-causing bacteria and viruses in water.  It demonstrates how bacterial contamination of water can be tracked back to sources such as humans or animals (e.g. cows or pigs), leading to faster corrective actions. How heavy rainfall can result in sudden changes in water quality as bacterial contamination gets washed into groundwater from farm sources and septic tanks.   The research is also important for families and businesses using private wells as it shows how poorly protected wells or water treatment can have an adverse impact on their health. Key recommendations include: Reducing the use of antibiotics in human and animal healthcare. Classifying water sources - to highlight those at greatest risk. Applying computer models to predict changes in water quality, so that it is possible to plan and respond. Implementing total quality management systems approach to water treatment plants, as operational failure is identified as a major risk. The need for proper well construction and water treatment and protection of water sources from contamination from farms, septic tanks or other sources. Dara Lynott, EPA Director, said: “The rainfall that renews our rivers, lakes and ground water is the foundation for good health as well as an important resource for tourism, farming and industry.  It is important to recognise and deal with the threats to water quality and health which are highlighted in this project. But it is also important to see the opportunities identified for Ireland to develop and provide tools for monitoring and addressing the challenge of protecting our water resources.” Professor Martin Cormican, NUI Galway, lead author of the report, said: “Water is an increasingly scarce resource in an increasingly crowded world.  We are privileged to have a lot of it and we have tended to take it for granted.  This project is part of a process of developing the science and the policies to treat water for what it is – the foundation of life and health for the people of Ireland and a tremendous sustainable natural asset in our engagement with the rest of the world.” This research was conducted in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway and in UCD, with partners in the HSE and local authorities.  The full report, Enhancing Human Health through Improved Water Quality, is available on the EPA website at: www.epa.ie/downloads/pubs/research/health/ ENDS  

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to attend NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research will be officially launched on Tuesday, 10 July, by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. TheRyan Institutehas over 300 researchers making itIreland’s largest research institute to focus on some of the most pressing environmental and energy issues of the 21st century. The official launch will coincide with a public symposium entitled ‘Green Shift, Blue Growth, Bright Future?’ featuring leading international experts in the environmental marine, energy and smart infrastructure research. EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “If Europe is to become more competitive and innovative, we need the best brains working together to face the challenges and seize the opportunities ahead. This new Institute, embedded in NUI Galway, will build on the long-standing excellence of the Environmental Change Institute and the Martin Ryan Institute for Marine Science, and will pool resources and expertise. I am convinced that the Ryan Institute will increase Ireland’s already considerable contribution to European environmental, marine and energy research.” The symposium will be opened by Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The keynote address, ‘A global perspective on the environment in 2040’, will be delivered by Dr Aaron Bernstein, Director of the Centre for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. He is co-author of the acclaimed book Sustaining Life, which examines the threats that diminishing biodiversity pose to human health. Other speakers at the symposium will include: Dr Kristina Johnson, former Under Secretary for Energy at the Department of Energy in Washington, DC; Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Centre for Health from Environment, Ryan Institute; Dr Lisa Amini, Head of IBM’s Smarter Cities Technology Centre in Dublin; and Dr Niall McDonough, European Science Foundation. Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute, said: “NUI Galway has a long history of engaging with vital environmental and marine issues through our research, especially in the areas of climate change, water resources, marine ecosystems, biodiversity and sustainability. As energy research - bioenergy and ocean energy – has become a recent strength in NUI Galway, we realised that bringing all these researchers together in the Ryan Institute could help to unlock creative solutions to some of the pressing resource problems facing us in the near future.” In the afternoon, sessions will focus on national and regional issues, with a specific focus on how Ryan Institute research can feed into regional development. Members of the Galway 2040 Initiative, whose supporters are interested in developing a vision and plan for sustainable development of Galway city and county, will be contributing strongly to the discussions. Other high-profile guests and researchers will stimulate discussion on some of the most important technological, scientific and socio‐economic global and local perspectives on environmental, marine and energy issues. NUI Galway’s formal research in this area goes back to the early-1990s when a donation from Dr Tony Ryan, founder of Ryanair, was made in memory of his father Martin. The symposium is free and all are welcomed to be involved. Registration and programme details for the day can be found on www.conference.ie. -ends-   Seolann OÉ Gaillimh Institiúid Uí Riain ag Siompóisiam Poiblí I láthair beidh Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, an Coimisinéir Eorpach um Thaighde, Nuálaíocht agus Eolaíocht agus Pat Rabbitte TD, an tAire Cumarsáide, Fuinnimh agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha Is í Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, an Coimisinéir Eorpach um Thaighde, Nuálaíocht agus Eolaíocht, a dhéanfaidh Institiúid Uí Riain do Thaighde Comhshaoil, Muirí agus Fuinnimh in OÉ Gaillimh a sheoladh go hoifigiúil Dé Máirt, an 10 Iúil.Tá breis agus 300 taighdeoir ag obair in Institiúid Uí Riain, agus í ar an institiúid is mó in Éirinn atá ag plé le cuid de na ceisteanna is práinní maidir leis an gcomhshaol agus le cúrsaí fuinnimh na haoise seo. Ag an am céanna leis an seoladh beidh siompóisiam poiblí ar siúl dar teideal ‘Green Shift, Blue Growth, Bright Future?’, áit a labhróidh saineolaithe idirnáisiúnta ar thaighde comhshaol muirí, fuinnimh agus infreastruchtúir chliste. Dúirt an Coimisinéir Eorpach um Thaighde, Nuálaíocht agus Eolaíocht, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn: “Más le hÉirinn a bheith níos iomaíche agus níos nuálaí, ní mór dúinn na daoine is éirimiúla a chur ag obair as lámh a chéile chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar na dúshláin agus chun na deiseanna a bheidh ann amach anseo a thapú. Cuirfidh an Institiúid nua seo, atá i gceartlár OÉ Gaillimh, leis an bhfeabhas atá ag baint le fada leis an Institiúid um Athrú Comhshaoil agus le hInstitiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain don Mhuireolaíocht, agus cuirfidh sí acmhainní agus saineolas ar fáil in aon áit amháin. Táim cinnte go gcuirfidh Institiúid Uí Riain leis an méid suntasach atá déanta ag Éirinn cheana féin ar mhaithe le taighde comhshaoil, muirí agus fuinnimh na hEorpa.” Is é Pat Rabbitte TD, an tAire Cumarsáide, Fuinnimh agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha a osclóidh an siompóisiam. Is é an Dr Aaron Bernstein, Stiúrthóir an Centre for Health and the Global Environment i Scoil Leighis Harvard a thabharfaidh príomhchaint an tsiompóisiam, ‘A global perspective on the environment in 2040’. Is comhúdar é ar an leabhar cáiliúil Sustaining Life, a dhéanann iniúchadh ar na bagairtí ar shláinte an duine a bhaineann le bithéagsúlacht laghdaitheach. I measc na gcainteoirí eile ag an siompóisiam beidh: An Dr Kristina Johnson, iarFho-Rúnaí Fuinnimh sa Roinn Fuinnimh i Washington, DC; an Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Lárionad Sláinte Faoi Scáth an Chomhshaoil, Institiúid Uí Riain; an Dr Lisa Amini, Ceannasaí Ionad IBM do Smarter Cities Technology i mBaile Átha Cliath; agus an Dr Niall McDonough, Fondúireacht Eolaíochta na hEorpa. Dúirt an tOllamh Colin Brown, Stiúrthóir Institiúid Uí Riain: “Tá dea-cháil ar OÉ Gaillimh le fada mar gheall ar an obair atá déanta aici le haghaidh a thabhairt ar phríomhcheisteanna comhshaoil agus muirí trína cuid taighde, go háirithe sna réimsí a bhaineann le hathrú aeráide, acmhainní uisce, éiceachórais mhuirí, bithéagsúlacht agus inbhuanaitheacht. Le tamall anuas tá láidreacht ar leith léirithe ag OÉ Gaillimh i gcúrsaí taighde fuinnimh - bithfhuinneamh agus fuinneamh farraige, agus thuigeamar go mbeadh tairbhe ar leith ag baint leis na taighdeoirí seo ar fad a thabhairt le chéile in Institiúid Uí Riain d’fhonn teacht ar fhreagraí cruthaitheacha ar chuid de na fadhbanna acmhainní is mó atá os ár gcomhair sa ghearrthréimhse.” Díreoidh na seisiúin sa tráthnóna ar cheisteanna náisiúnta agus réigiúnacha, le béim ar leith ar an gcaoi ar féidir le taighde Institiúid Uí Riain cabhrú le forbairt réigiúnach. Beidh ról ar leith sna cainteanna ag comhaltaí ón Galway 2040 Initiative, ar spéis leo fís agus plean a chur i dtoll a chéile d’fhorbairt inmharthana chathair agus chontae na Gaillimhe. Cuirfidh aíonna agus taighdeoirí iomráiteacha eile leis an bplé ar chuid de na peirspictíochtaí teicneolaíochta, eolaíocha agus socheacnamaíocha domhanda agus áitiúla is tábhachtaí maidir le ceisteanna muirí agus fuinnimh. Cuireadh tús le taighde foirmiúil OÉ Gaillimh sa réimse seo i dtús na 1990idí nuair a thug an Dr Tony Ryan, bunaitheoir Ryanair, deontas don Ollscoil i gcuimhne a athar Martin. Tá an siompóisiam saor in aisce agus tá fáilte roimh chách. Is féidir teacht ar eolas faoi chlárúchán agus ar chlár an lae ag www.conference.ie. -críoch-

Friday, 6 July 2012

As part of the Galway Fringe Festival running from 12-30 July, NUI Galway will host eight plays, two literary events, plus music, dance and exhibitions. All the shows will take place in the new Cube Theatre, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Wildebeest Theatre Company will perform ‘Tan’, while Youth Work Ireland are performing their black comedy ‘Banged Up Broads’. Galway Actors Workshop will perform ‘The Heroism Hotline’  and Floating World Productions will present ‘Saol’. NUI Galway Students and Staff will also present a series of new original works. Ríona Hughes will perform the comic one woman show ‘Ballyganruaile’ and Dramsoc presents ‘Rewind’. There are also a series of plays written or directed by recent NUI Galway graduates of Drama. The Cube Triple Bill featuring award winning playwright Paddy O’Byrne’s ‘Ahhh Lad!’. Other plays to feature include ‘The Thee Women’, ‘Cathleen Ní Houlihan 2, and ‘The Berlin Decision’ by Shaun Leonard. New writing is also featured in ‘Girl Uninterrupted’ by Eve O’Mahony and a rehearsed reading of ‘Life Security’ by Drew Dunlop. Award winning Cúirt poetry slam winner Shaun Leonard is hosting four nights of poetry and music with guests including former All-Ireland Slam winner Miceál Kearney, comedian Steve Bennett and poets Kevin Higgins, Anne Irwin and Nicholas Fitzgerald. Children are catered for with a production of Truth Fairy and ‘Do you Speak Mermish’, a multi Sensory drop in room creating an undersea experience to stimulate the senses and imagination. Tickets are from €3-€12 and can be purchased at the SocsBox, NUI Galway, or at the Fringe Festival Box Office on Frances Street or on line at www.galwayfringe.com.  For more information on all the on campus events call 091 492852 or check out www.festivals.nuigalway.ie and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Shows and times as follows: ‘Tan’: 12-14 July at 8pm ‘Banged Up Broads’: 19 July 8.30pm and 20 July at 6.30pm ‘The Heroism Hotline’: 28 and 29 July at 5.30pm ‘Saol’: 19 July at 6pm Ballyganruaile’: 23–26 July at6pm, and 27 July at 8.30pm ‘Rewind’: 26, 28 and 29 July at 8.30pm, and 27 July at 6pm ‘Ahhh Lad!’: 22-25 July at 8.30pm ‘The Thee Women’: 22–25 July at 8.30pm ‘Cathleen Ní Houlihan 2’: 22–25 July at 8.30pm and ‘The Berlin Decision’: 22–25 July at 8.30pm Shaun Leonard poetry nights: 15-18 July at 7pm ‘Truth Fairy’: 28-29 July at 12.30pm ‘Do you Speak Mermish’: 24-29 July from 11am–3pm -ENDS-

Monday, 9 July 2012

NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to its Sports Scholarships Scheme for 2012/13. NUI Galway has a long tradition of excellence in sport and this has been enhanced by the recent success in Rowing, Hurling, Basketball, Soccer and Rugby as well as numerous individual achievements. The deadline for application for current and prospective students is Tuesday, 31 July at 5 pm. The Scholarship Programme is aimed at student-athletes of outstanding calibre who register as students of the University. In the current academic year, student athletes at NUI Galway received significant financial and professional support services.  The scholarships aim to help aspiring young sportspeople to continue to develop their sporting prowess. Currently over 60 students receive support under the scheme in a broad range of sports. The scheme has assisted dozens of athletes’ progress to the highest levels of their sport in recent years and is aimed at providing them with the tools for success in the long term. Applicants for sports scholarships must satisfy the academic criteria for entry to NUI Galway and must have applied to the CAO in the usual manner. Gary Ryan is Elite Sports Development Officer at NUI Galway: “Our aim is to help our scholarship athletes develop as a student and as a sportsperson. We are not rewarding for past successes rather trying to prepare our students for future achievement.” A former Irish Olympian and record-breaking sprinter, Gary Ryan sees a bright future for the NUI Galway sports scholarships: “Our efforts in developing a high performance sports environment in NUI Galway have already shown significant success with a large number of our Sports Scholarship students representing county and national teams. We are especially proud of those individuals that have excelled on the International stage, including Irish Olympian hopefuls at London 2012, Paul Hession and Olive Loughnane.  All of these achievements have been secured by students who are also receiving a world class education and being supported by the scheme to meet the challenges of these dual goals” For the Scholarships, students who meet the University’s entry requirements will be selected on merit by an independent panel. In addition to the scholarship, students will receive specialist support including physiotherapy, treatment of injury, fitness training, coaching and support for travel to national and international competitions. More details on the Sports Scholarship Scheme at http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html  or by calling the Sport and Recreation Unit at NUI Galway on 091 495979. All applications must be submitted online at http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html  ENDS   Seans amháin eile ar Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh Tá seans amháin eile le hiarratais a chur isteach ar Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh 2012/13. Tá dea-cháil ar an Ollscoil le fada as ucht a cuid feabhais i gcúrsaí spóirt agus táthar ag cur leis an gcáil seo le héachtaí san Iomramh, Iomáint, Cispheil, Sacar agus Rugbaí chomh maith le héachtaí aonair éagsúla. Is é Dé Máirt, an 31 Iúil ag 5pm an spriocdháta le hiarratas a bheith déanta ag mic léinn reatha agus ag mic léinn a bheidh ag tosú ar chúrsaí. Tá an Clár Scoláireachta dírithe ar lúthchleasaithe den scoth atá cláraithe mar mhic léinn de chuid na hOllscoile.  Sa bhliain reatha acadúil, fuair lúthchleasaithe atá ag freastal ar OÉ Gaillimh tacaíocht shuntasach airgid agus ghairmiúil.  Tá sé mar aidhm leis na scoláireachtaí cabhrú le lúthchleasaithe óga a mbuanna spóirt a fhorbairt. Faoi láthair faigheann os cionn 60 mac léinn tacaíocht faoin scéim agus iad i mbun réimse leathan spóirt. Chabhraigh an scéim le go leor lúthchleasaithe dul ar aghaidh go dtí an leibhéal is airde ina spórt le blianta beaga anuas agus tá sé dírithe ar iad a chumasú leis na huirlisí a theastaíonn le barr feabhais a bhaint amach. Ní mór d’iarratasóirí ar scoláireachtaí spóirt critéir acadúla iontrála OÉ Gaillimh a shásamh agus ní mór dóibh iarratas a beith déanta acu tríd an CAO ar an ngnáthbhealach. Is é Gary Ryan an tOifigeach Forbartha don Spórt Éilíte in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is é an aidhm atá againn cabhrú leis na lúthchleasaithe a fhaigheann scoláireachtaí forbairt mar mhic léinn agus mar lucht spóirt. Nílimid ag tabhairt aitheantais do rudaí atá déanta go dtí seo ach ag iarraidh ár gcuid mic léinn a ullmhú ionas go n-éireoidh leo amach anseo”. Is iar-lúthchleasaí Oilimpeach agus reathaí ráibe a sháraigh curiarracht é Gary Ryan agus is dóigh leis go mbeidh an-rath ar scoláireachtaí spóirt OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá toradh ár gcuid iarrachtaí timpeallacht ardchumais don spórt a fhorbairt in OÉ Gaillimh le sonrú sa líonard mic léinn atá ar fhoirne contae agus náisiúnta agus a bhfuil Scoláireachtaí Spóirt acu. Táimid thar a bheith bródúil as na mic léinn a bhfuil a gcion déanta acu go hidirnáisiúnta, san áireamh Paul Hession agus Olive Loughnane a bheidh ag súil le Londain 2012 an samhradh seo.  Is mic léinn iad seo a bhfuil oideachas den scoth á fháil acu agus atá páirteach i scéim a chuideoidh leo na dúshláin atá rompu a shárú.” Roghnóidh painéal neamhspleách na mic léinn a shásaíonn riachtanais iontrála na hOllscoile ar bhonn fiúntais. Chomh maith le scoláireacht, gheobhaidh na mic léinn tacaíocht eile spóirt chomh maith cosúil le fisiteiripe, cóireáil do ghortú, traenáil aclaíochta, cóitseáil agus cúnamh le taisteal chuig comórtais náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Is féidir teacht ar thuilleadh eolais faoi Scéim na Scoláireachtaí Spóirt ag http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html nó trí ghlao a chur ar an Aonad Spóirt agus Áineasa in OÉ Gaillimh ag 091 495979. Ní mór gach iarratas a dhéanamh ar líne ag http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html Críoch

Monday, 9 July 2012

Former Under Secretary for Energy with the Obama administration, Dr Kris Johnson, is one of the newly appointed Advisory Board for NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute. The Advisory Panel meets in NUI Galway today, ahead of tomorrow’s official launch of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. Dr Johnson is joined on the board by Dr Aaron Bernstein ofHarvard Medical School, Dr Lisa Amini of IBM, Dr Niall McDonough of the European Science Foundation and Dr James Cunningham of NUI Galway. Dr Johnson was Under Secretary for Energy at the Department of Energy in Washington, DC until end-2010. TheRyan Institutehas over 300 researchers making itIreland’s largest research institute to focus on some of the most pressing environmental and energy issues of the 21st century. The official launch tomorrow, Tuesday, will coincide with a public symposium entitled ‘Green Shift, Blue Growth, Bright Future?’ featuring leading international experts in the environmental marine, energy and smart infrastructure research. The free event, which will also be attended by Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is open to the public with more information available on www.conference.ie During his keynote address at the symposium, Dr Bernstein has said that he wishes to address “the greatest accounting problem ever known” which relates not to the value of money but the “value of nature”. He says: “The depletion of natural capital makes clear that we have as yet been unable to balance the biospheric books even if our survival depends on it.” Bernstein claims that about half of the newly approved medicines in the United States between 1980 and the present wouldn’t exist if nature hadn't provided them to us. “In addition, nearly two-thirds of humanity drinks water from lakes, rivers or other freshwater bodies that may be purified by species inhabiting the watershed surrounding those water bodies”, he adds. Dr Bernstein says: “The Ryan Institute at NUI Galway has many worthy goals in research and education, and it is noteworthy that despite the financial turmoil that besets Ireland, the Institute has moved ahead. Surely at a time when we must know so much more about the life that sustains us, and must redouble our efforts to educate ourselves about why nature matters, this reflects a deep wisdom, the kind of which we must use to meet the challenges that lie ahead and that will enable us to find the accounting we need to do business better with the biosphere.” Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute, said: “Our Institute is honoured to have such leading experts lend their support, innovative ideas and international perspective on how our strengths in environmental, marine and energy research can be harnessed to provide maximum impact for Ireland in the coming decade.” -ends-

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The new Mayor of Galway city, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, has launched the O’Shaughnessy Bridge with Mr Keith Warnock, Vice-President for Capital Projects at NUI Galway. The bridge, which crosses the Eglinton Canal, is a suspension bridge of about 50 metres and is designed for use by both pedestrians and cyclists as part of a wider scheme to encourage sustainable travel in Galway City. Speaking at the launch, Mayor O’Flaherty said: “This joint initiative between Galway Transportation Unit and NUI Galway is a credit to all involved. In particular this bridge plays a significant role in the increase in walking and cycling in the City by providing a high quality channel by which pedestrians and cyclists alike can avail. It offers potential to reduce car dependency in key areas of the City by offering commuters and pedestrian travel options.” The project consisted of the design and construction of two bridges, the main one spanning the Eglinton Canal and a smaller one spanning a nearby mill race. It is part of the Smarter Travel initiative and provides a vital link between Fisheries Field and the NUI Galway Campus. The project was promoted on a partnership basis by NUI Galway and Galway City Council. On behalf of NUI Galway, Keith Warnock, Vice-President for Capital Projects, said: “We in the University were pleased to have the opportunity to work with our colleagues in Galway City Council to advance this very worthwhile project.” Mr Warnock thanked members of the design team and the employees of the contractors, all of whom had worked with NUI Galway staff to deliver the project very effectively. The consulting engineers were Ryan Hanley and L&M Keating were the main contractors. The structural steelwork for the bridge was manufactured in Galway by Pat Rynn (Engineering) Ltd. Landscape architects Mitchell & Associates worked on the area where the bridge now meets the campus. Finance for the €1million project came from the National Sustainable Travel Office in the Department of Transport, with some additional funds provided by Galway University Foundation and the University itself. Michael O'Shaughnessy (1864-1934), whom the bridge is named after, graduated in Civil Engineering from NUI Galway (then Queen's College Galway) in 1884. In 1912 he was appointed Chief Engineer of the City of San Francisco. He undertook the building of new infrastructure for the city after the disastrous earthquake and fires of 1906, including the construction of the Twin Peaks tunnel, the famous Seashore Wall, the streetcar (tramway) system and the San Francisco Water-Supply and Electric-Power project, involving dams, powerhouses and 160 miles of transmission towers, pipelines and tunnels the whole way to the City. As City Engineer, O'Shaughnessy commissioned the design and construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. The O'Shaughnessy Dam was named in his honour and provides water and electricity to 2.4 million people in the city of San Francisco, San Mateo County, Alameda County, and the San Joaquin Valley. Prior to becoming Chief Engineer in San Francisco O’Shaughnessy worked as Engineer with the Southern Pacific Railroad and with the Sierra Valley and Mohawk Railroad; was Chief Engineer of the Mountain Copper Company, where he built 12 miles of narrow gauge mountain railroad; assisted in building an aggregate of about thirty miles of large irrigation conduit and some twenty miles of tunnel in Hawaii; and constructed the 260ft high Morena Dam and 13 miles of conduit with seventeen tunnels for the City of San Diego.  ENDS

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The First Annual Professor Anthony P. Moran Prize for a Postgraduate Research Paper in Microbiology at NUI Galway has been awarded to PhD student Kate Reddington.   A native of Westport, Co. Mayo, Kate won the award for her recent paper on tuberculosis testing. It is hoped that her research will contribute to the global effort to control tuberculosis (TB). The new diagnostic DNA test allows for the identification of the exact bacteria causing a patient’s TB which will give valuable information for their treatment.   The prize was given in memory of the late Anthony (Tony) Moran, who was Professor of Microbiology at NUI Galway until his death in 2010. His major research contribution to microbial biochemistry and glycobiology is widely recognised at both national and international levels. Professor Moran was also a Mayo native, originally from Westport.   This Professor Anthony P. Moran Prize is open to PhD or MSc students, currently registered at NUI Galway who, as lead author, publish a high-quality research paper on any aspect of the microbiology of prokaryotic or eukaryotic micro-organisms.   Kate’s article was published in the acclaimed scientific journal PLoS ONE, and was co-authored by NUI Galway’s Dr Thomas Barry and Dr Justin O’Grady.   -ends-

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Local Galway City weather is now available on your smartphone via an android app.  The app arose from a collaboration between the disciplines of Information Technology and Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. The weather data is provided by the IRUSE research group at NUI Galway led by Dr Marcus Keane, Lecturer in Energy Systems Engineering at the University. Dr Hugh Melvin, Lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway, said: “Is Galway the wettest city in Ireland? We all know that the Irish love talking about the weather and that the Irish love their smartphones. Now you can combine these two with a free Android app and answer that question at the same time. This version won’t stop the rain or banish the clouds but we hope that the next one will, a practical example of cloud computing.” The app is free and can be found by searching ‘NUIG Weather’ on Android app store. The app provides live weather data (such as temperature, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall and atmospheric pressure) as well as graphs of archived data so that you can review trends in weather over last day or month. The weather data is also available via web browser from http://weather.nuigalway.ie. The app development was carried out by Ronan Everiss, an NUI Galway Bachelor of Science in Information Technology graduate under the supervision of Dr Hugh Melvin. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The coastal radar system run by Dr Mike Hartnett’s research group in the newly launched Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, made a last minute entry into the Volvo Ocean Race. It has been revealed that the radar, which measures currents and waves throughout Galway Bay on the hour, was instrumental to the success of the PUMA team in the in-port races. The radar is a sophisticated system, normally used for advanced marine research. The finale to the Volvo Ocean Race took place in Galway Bay on Saturday afternoon, with the Discover Ireland In-Port Race, with PUMA going into the race tied on the same points with CAMPER. On Friday afternoon, Dr Hartnett was contacted by Robert Hopkins Jnr., PUMA Ocean Racing performance coach, to see if the radar data could be provided to the crew of the PUMA boat. Maps of the currents in the bay over the past month were made available to PUMA and Dr Hartnett advised PUMA on their sailing strategy for the important race. As is now widely known, PUMA went on to win in great style and win the series by a one point margin. The win marked PUMA’s first trip to the top of the podium for an in-port race in this round of the Volvo Ocean Race. PUMA finished on the podium in nine of the 10 in-port races, collecting 45 total points to win the overall In-Port Race Series. The crew was tied with CAMPER going into the final race and won the series by one point.  PUMA’s Robert Hopkins Jnr was delighted and said: “Currents in Galway Bay were a big factor in the In-Port Race, where tides, wind and river outflow make it all very complicated. To prepare for the race, we looked for surface current patterns in hundreds hours of data from the NUI Galway radar, took on-the-water readings before the start, and data from Mar Mostro’s own Doppler velocity log supplied by Nortek AS. It worked and we won the race.” The NUI Galway radar data will soon be available online to the public, hopefully helping local sailors to improve their performance. Dr Hartnett acknowledged the assistance provided by two local businessmen in enabling this advanced technology: “The Spiddal radar site is sending its data back to the computers at NUI Galway via the broadband service of An Crúiscín Lán, thanks to the permission of owner John Foy. Similarly, Liam Twomey, General Manager of the National Aquarium of Ireland, Salthill, provided access to their broadband to courier the Mutton Island radar data back to NUI Galway.” -ends-

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Interim findings from the HRB-funded ‘Pain Disability Prevention Trial’, currently running at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, shows promising results for people with back pain.  The researchers are evaluating the effectiveness of an active rehabilitation programme which allows patients who are off work due to back pain, the opportunity to attend 10 free one-to-one sessions with a Clinical Psychologist trained in pain rehabilitation.  The aims of the sessions are to help patients to gradually increase their level of activity and return to work.   Sessions focus on a range of pacing techniques, cognitive therapy to identify any unhelpful thinking patterns and the development of activity goals, stretches and exercising to improve physical function. Miriam Raftery, researcher at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, says “The initial trends show that those who took part in the rehabilitation sessions had improvements in overall level of functioning and activity levels as well as significant reductions in stress and anxiety, compared to those who didn’t take part in the programme.  This suggests that the active rehabilitation programme may be beneficial in improving overall quality of life among those with back pain.” Sue, 54, from Limerick, who took part in the free sessions earlier this year, says:  “The sessions helped me to structure my day, and acknowledge completed tasks.  It helped me realise that prior to the sessions every day was more or less the same.  I am now back to full time employment after four years.  I think the programme really helped me with this.” Tom, 37, from Galway, says: “I found the programme very beneficial and was very helpful to have the set appointment every week.  I will miss the sessions enormously.” Researchers are still recruiting people to take part in this trial in Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Limerick, Cork and Dublin.  All appointments take place locally in each region.  The researchers are interested in hearing from people who are unable to work or are on reduced work hours due to back pain. Lead researcher Dr Brian McGuire, NUI Galway, said: “We are very encouraged with the early results of this programme, it has made a significant difference in the activity levels of a number of people with chronic pain.” For further information about taking part, please contact Miriam Raftery, Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, email Miriam.raftery@nuigalway.ie, phone 091 495 830 or see the trial website: www.nuigalway.ie/pdp.  General Practitioners and physiotherapists interested in referring patients to the trial are also invited to contact this number. ENDS

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

A delegation from NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights will appear today before the Irish Parliamentary Committee on Africa, to make the case for a rights-based approach to development assistance. The group will call on Ireland to fulfil its international legal obligations by adopting an ethical investment strategy as a core principle of its foreign policy.    Peter Fitzmaurice, Josh Curtis and Michael Higgins will speak today at the Houses of the Oireachtais, at a specially convened meeting which is expected to be attended by large numbers of TDs and senators.  The gathering represents the Irish section of AWEPA (Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa), which has over 130 members in the Oireachtas and is regarded as one of the most active sections. AWEPA works in partnership with African parliaments to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Africa, keep Africa high on the political agenda in Europe, and facilitate African-European parliamentary dialogue. Ireland is currently undertaking a review of its Development Programme, and the AWEPA committee in seeking to keep its members informed about development issues, invited the members from the Irish Centre for Human Rights to make their presentation.  Speaking before the Committee met, Michael Higgins, a graduate from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, said: “Ireland can be justifiably proud of its tradition of helping others, but it now risks losing this legacy. Ireland forms part of the Nordic Plus group, a set of countries universally acknowledged as the international development agencies that lead the way in terms of best practice, effectiveness and innovation. However, in recent years, while all the other members of the Nordic Plus group have shifted towards or adopted a rights-based approach, Ireland has remained behind.” “Other countries have realised that a rights-based approach offers an authoritative response to many questions posed both by the public and policy makers; how can we ensure our development assistance leads to recipient governments adopting pro-poor policies, how can we ensure development assistance is sustainable, how can we ensure the participation of the poorest and most vulnerable in decisions that affect their lives? Ireland should follow the example set by the other members of the Nordic Plus group.”    Josh Curtis, a Doctoral Fellow at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, suggested that the Irish Government must engage with the issue of Irish and EU investment policy if the developmental aims of the Irish Aid programme are to be realised and achieved with integrity. He noted that international trade and investment agreements often operate counter to the interests of developing countries, and are presently prejudicial to the rationale and aims of development assistance.  Peter Fitzmaurice, also a Doctoral Fellow at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, added that recent developments in international human rights law concerning the obligations of donor states and international cooperation mandates the realisation of a more just and equitable system of international economic governance. He indicated that donor states will increasingly contend with arguments from developing countries, civil society, and the public, that a re-orientation of donor investment and assistance policy is necessary as a matter of international law. ends

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The School of Law at NUI Galway has announced six new programmes, starting in September 2012. The new programmes will be offered on a part-time basis and aimed at applicants who want to upgrade or refresh their legal skills but are unable take on a full-time course. Building on the innovative Master’s degree in Law, Technology and Governance, the School is accepting applications for: LLM in Law, Technology and Governance (part-time) Postgraduate Diploma in Commercial Regulation and Compliance (full-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Commercial Regulation and Compliance (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in E-Commerce Law (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Intellectual Property Law (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Information Technology Law (part-time) This suite of programmes offers students an opportunity to explore in-depth substantive social issues and questions of law and governance as these mechanisms evolve to deal with ever-changing technology and rapid scientific advances. In addition, academics from other institutions and key figures in public service, private practice and national and international organisations regularly contribute to the programme and enrich the overall learning experience. NUI Galway’s School of Law offers an active and dynamic learning environment with significant interaction between students and staff. Its objective is to produce highly-skilled and competent graduates with a significant expertise in their chosen subjects. NUI Galway Lecturer in Law, Rónán Kennedy, said: “We have specifically designed these new programmes for those who want to upgrade or refresh their legal skills but cannot take on a full-time course. Successful completion of these programmes can open a number of career options. If you intend to become a solicitor or barrister, for example, or are already qualified and want to expand into new career pathways, the topics covered are all busy areas of practice and will open attractive options, both in Ireland and abroad. If you want to work in the public sector or public service, the focus on policy issues will give you a perspective which will be of considerable benefit.” The deadline for applications is Friday, 10 August and applications can be made through www.pac.ie/nuigalway. ENDS

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

One of Ireland’s leading web science experts, Professor Stefan Decker, has been invited to attend the exclusive Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in the US this week. Professor Decker is Director of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway, which was set up with funding from SFI in 2003, and has since grown to become the largest research institute of its kind in the world. The annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit unites academic researchers and educators with Microsoft researchers, product group engineers, and architects to explore new opportunities and challenges in computer science research. The event, involving 400 of the best academic investigators from around the world, takes place in Redmond, Washington, today and tomorrow. DERI’s work is focussed on bringing about networked knowledge, by developing and applying a range of web technologies and standards. According to Professor Decker: “New standards and technologies are changing the World Wide Web from a web of documents into a network of data and knowledge. A combination of technologies, known collectively as the Semantic Web, is making it possible to link that data together on the Web and to use it in new and exciting ways, and transform the Web into networked knowledge.” -ends-

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The 2011 Census shows that more than two out of every five people aged 65 and over lives in a rural community. Surprisingly, relatively little is known about the situation of this important demographic group. The Rural Ageing Observatory at NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology is seeking to fill some of the gaps in knowledge on rural ageing. It recently launched the first two reports in a series that, in time, will provide vital information about the ageing population in rural Ireland. The first of the short reports focuses on key demographic trends and issues facing rural older people. The second report summarises evidence relating to income, poverty and deprivation of Ireland’s older rural population. Launching the reports, Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, said: “More than 200,000 people over the age of 65 live in rural communities across Ireland. In the autumn, the government will be launching its National Positive Ageing Strategy. It’s important that this is a strategy for older people wherever they live – in rural as well as in urban communities. Greater awareness of the circumstances of rural older people, in particular, is essential if the right policy measures are to be adopted.” Both reports are available online at www.icsg.ie. -ends-

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Galway mum-of-two Ann Brehony launched her essential family holiday helper app called Ireland Are We There Yet? last October in the Apple App Store to rave reviews. The idea had come about while studying for her MA in Publishing at NUI Galway. As part of her course Ann completed a business plan for an innovative publishing venture, such was the positive reaction from course tutors that she set about getting the project funded. A mere nine months post graduation an international publishing deal was secured with American digital travel publisher Sutro Media. The app has now sold in over eighteen countries worldwide, feedback has been universally positive leading to a further release on the Android platform in early 2012. “The beauty of this product” explains Ann “is that it is like a living breathing organic publication, I constantly update the material which keeps everything fresh and vibrant”. The app is a 32-county guide to things to do and see with your kids in Ireland, rain or shine. The latest version, which is free to existing customers, has just hit the App Store and is already flying off the digital shelves! The new updated app is packed with over 70 additional entries with a new layout and improved search facilities. “Through the comments section in the App, I can enter into conversation with my customers and respond to their needs and experiences; initial feedback told me that people were looking for more things to occupy teens and older kids so I was able to create a whole new section easily searchable under the same tag. As a mother of two, one of whom has special needs, I know how hard it can be to keep the kids amused all summer, this app was born out of my own need so I do understand what my customers want.” Publishers Sutro Media say: “This app is like the local cousin you never knew you had! It has sussed the best ways to visit Ireland with kids so you don't have to do the legwork;  It's like having a bunch of native kids show you the best stuff to do in this magical country.” App highlights include: Packed with places kids will love to visit. Quirky car games to keep them amused and engaged with the trip along the way.  A full nationwide listing of free outdoor play areas. Scavenger hunts and car bingo will get you working as a team so you get the most of your family time together. Improved layout with Twitter and Facebook links to each entry. An introduction to the Faery World. Listings of nationwide fun activities like Diving, Surfing, Sailing, Whale and Dolphin Watching Horse Riding and Cycling Trails. A guide to famous film locations. Price: €2.39, £1.79, $2.99  Available on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ireland-are-we-there-yet/id464158415?mt=8 Available on Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sutromedia.android.guide.ireland.kids&hl=en  ENDS

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Higher Education Authority Chief Executive, Tom Boland recently launched a new book, Higher Education and Civic Engagement: Comparative Perspectives. Edited by Lorraine Mc Ilrath and Ann Lyons from the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teachingat NUI Galway and Professor Ronnie Munck, Head of Civic Engagement at DCU, the new book was launched following a round-table discussion on how to move forward the civic engagement agenda in Irish higher education institutions. Welcoming the attendants, DCU President, Professor Brian Mc Craith, praised the publication of the book and supported the round-table discussion around how higher education could build civic engagement. The round table included contributions from Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the HEA, Lorraine Mc Ilrath, Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway, Dr Helen McQuillan, Manager of DCU in the Community and Madeleine Clark, Founder of Genio and Ashoka Entrepreneur. Lorraine Mc Ilrath, Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway, said:“The Community Knowledge Initiative began at NUI Galway with external funding and then became embedded within the culture of the University. There are now many initiatives in the area of community based or service learning and around volunteering which are ‘making a difference’ in the lives of students and in the wider community. This work also led to the HEA funded Campus Engage network designed to promote civic engagement across the sector and ‘mainstream’ if possible.” Speaking at the launch Tom Boland outlined the new national higher education strategy and the important role of civic engagement within it. “It could contribute hugely to transforming research, teaching and the student experience. There is also a growing appreciation of the potential of higher education institutions to contribute to social equality and community development with much greater emphasis on principles of partnership, empowerment, participation and capacity building. Civic engagement would be promoted to drive this mission in a way which recognised diversity and distinctive ways of doing engagement and accepted that it could not be an add-on to normal business.” Dr Helen Mc Quillanspoke to the very real problems in driving civic engagement within the higher education sector based on the case of DCU in the Community which is based in Ballymun in North Dublin. These initiatives do have a very real impact on individuals and communities which have, for long, been excluded from higher education. But to be successful and sustainable a very real ‘culture shift’ would need to occur within the institutions of higher education. Madeleine Clark stressed the need to engage with wider social change and the creative ways in which profit-making and non-profit making organisations could work together to combat social exclusion through strategic people-oriented initiatives. She called for civic engagement ‘to become the developing mission of higher education’ and to become much more central in the work which universities to by offering a vision for social transformation. Roundtable Chair, Professor Ronnie Munck, Head of Civic Engagement at DCU concluded that more needs to happen from debating civic engagement to implementing it: “Its potential to change the culture of higher education is clear as is its increased social relevance in a period of crisis. Campus Engage will be re-launched in the autumn to provide support for higher education institutions seeking to build a civic engagement mission and to create a vibrant network or community of practice. Civic engagement is here to stay, it’s not an add-on.” Higher Education and Civic Engagement: Comparative Perspectives is available through Campus Engage, www.campusengage.ie. ENDS

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

NUI Galway archaeologists and pollen analysts recently participated in a three-day specialist workshop at Kiel University on Neolithic landscapes in Sligo and Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. During the workshop the latest results, generated during the course of a joint Kiel-NUI Galway four-year programme of research, were presented and discussed. The new results, based mainly on detailed investigations of lake cores, provide fresh insights into the earliest farming economies, the changing intensity of farming through time and impacts on the natural environment in both regions. NUI Galway participants included Dr Stefan Bergh and Professor Michael O’Connell, and PhD students Ed Danaher and Beatrice Ghilardi, who are working towards doctorates on various aspects of the Neolithic in Sligo. An overview of the archaeology of Sligo was provided by the Sligo archaeologist, Martin Timoney. According to Professor O’Connell, “The new research, funded by the German Science Foundation, Kiel University and NUI Galway, the results of which are already partly published, will ultimately provide one of the most detailed records of early farming available in these islands.” Pictured is Dr Ingo Feeser, who gained his doctorate at NUI Galway and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Kiel University, presenting his latest data on long-term environmental change at Lake Belau, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. More information is available from Professor Michael O’Connell, Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit, School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI Galway, on 086 3891444 or michael.oconnell@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Crews from NUI Galway were presented with a number of national titles at the Irish Rowing Championships in Cork at the weekend. NUI Galway, teaming up with the University’s graduate club, Gráinne Mhaol, won the Senior Eights Championship of Ireland. In a keenly contested showdown with Queen’s University Belfast, NUI Galway/Gráinne Mhaol edged ahead at 1,250 meters into the race. With only 250 meters remaining Queen’s managed to close the gap but the NUI Galway/Gráinne Mhaol rowers found another couple of gears and crossed the finish line 1.78 seconds ahead of their rivals in a confident and powerful performance. For Dave Mannion and veteran cox Ruadhán Cooke, it was a fifth Senior Eights win. Four of the winning Eight rowing as Gráinne Mhaol took the Senior men’s Coxless Four title. The winning crew included James Wall, Cormac Folan, Alan Martin, Evin Donnelly, Robert O’Callaghan, Jason Wall, Dominic Burke, Dave Mannion and cox Ruadhán Cooke. Also winning at the Championships were the Novice Women’s Coxed Four of Mary Murphy, Michelle Arakgi, Chloe O’Flynn, Anna Power and Sandra Kelly and the Intermediate Men’s Coxless Pair of Conor Egan and club captain Richard Bennett. Commenting on the success at the weekend, Ruadhán Cooke, said: “Our performances show the vibrancy of the club with wins from Novice level right up to the premier event, including success for the men, women and the graduate members. We also have wonderful people involved on the coaching and organisational side without whose unheralded and voluntary contributions we would simply not exist. Tens of other club members competed with pride and distinction across a number of events and look forward to emulating their club mates in the seasons ahead. In a year which saw the untimely passing of our great friend and mentor Tom Tuohy, it was especially emotional and fitting to be able to dedicate these successes to his memory.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Researchers at the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway are hoping to enlist the help of the general public to gather a rare barnacle which occasionally washes up on Irish shores. The specimens will be used to advance scientific knowledge surrounding the adhesive properties of barnacles. Barnacles have an amazing ability to attach themselves to every surface imaginable – even non-stick frying pans – and researchers at NUI Galway are studying the glue that the barnacle produces. They hope that one day synthetic versions of this natural underwater super-glue will be available for use in applications such as surgery and dentistry. However, the species under study is the goose barnacle (Lepas anatifera), which is lives out at sea and is very difficult to find. In order to continue their research more goose barnacles are required and the research group has now launched a media campaign, including a facebook and twitter campaign, to encourage the public to help find them. A Zoology PhD student, Jaimie-Leigh Jonker, who is working with NUI Galway’s Dr Anne Marie Power, explains: “These large goose barnacles sporadically wash ashore along the Irish coast in a mostly unpredictable manner; while popular surfing beaches like Fanore and Doughmore Bay have proved fruitful in the past, these animals could wash up anywhere. When washed ashore they will die from exposure to heat, light and air, unless we find them first and bring them back to our aquarium.” Barnacles secrete a glue-like substance which consists of several proteins and somehow sticks to both the barnacle’s body and whatever surface it is on, where it hardens to form a very strong ‘cement’. “It might seem perfectly ordinary that a sea creature can stick to a surface, but if you stop to think about it you may realise that it’s actually quite an incredible innovation by nature, says Jaimie-Leigh. “We humans haven’t managed to create glues that can be used successfully in wet environments, but nature has done it over and over again.” The purpose of the current research at NUI Galway is to understand how the barnacle glue works, through examining both the glands inside the body that produce the glue and the proteins that make up the glue. “Eventually we hope to be able to create synthetic proteins with the same adhesive properties, which could be put to use as glues for surgery and dentistry”, explains Jaimie-Leigh. “Within just a decade or so the way that we practice surgery is likely to change greatly, with one of those changes being the replacement of sutures, staples and pins with adhesives copied from nature.” Jaimie-Leigh and her colleagues would love to hear from anybody that comes across goose barnacles on the Irish coast this summer. You can contact the barnacle research group at the Zoology in NUI Galway, on 091 493191 or through email (j.jonker1@nuigalway.ie), twitter (@BarnacleHunt) and facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheAmazingGooseBarnacle). -ENDS-

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Fujitsu Ireland today announced that Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu, the global ICT giant, will begin a significant investment in a research programme with Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) based in NUI Galway. The research will be conducted in the area of Networked Knowledge, identifying new models and commercial opportunities for exploiting the vast quantities of static and dynamic data on the Internet, making it more valuable to end-users. The programme has been supported by the Government through IDA and Science Foundation Ireland.   Tatsuo Tomita, President of Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., commenting on the announcement said, “Fujitsu aims to enable a ‘Human Centric Intelligent Society’ for which Fujitsu Laboratories conducts R&D of advanced technologies to generate value by linking individuals, things, and information, and will leverage such created value to conduct R&D of advanced technologies to offer inspiration, discovery, reliability, and growth. Big data will be the foundation for enabling such a society, and we at Fujitsu view as essential the data processing of big data - in other words, the gathering, semantic analysis, and categorisation of big data.  This joint research collaboration with DERI featuring large-scale research resources in the field of Semantic Web offers new R&D opportunities and represents a step forward toward the realization of a Human Centric Intelligent Society envisioned by Fujitsu.” Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, said: “Key to the Government’s plan to get growth and jobs back into the economy again is a determination to ensure that we get a better commercial return from State-funded research. That is why the recent Research Prioritisation exercise focused on turning good ideas into good jobs by selecting a small number of areas where investment will be targeted. “Future networks is one of the areas selected, and today’s announcement that world-leading company Fujitsu is investing in industry-led research activity in this area shows what is possible. I commend IDA and Science Foundation Ireland on their work which has enabled today’s announcement. I am determined that, through continued implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs, industry-led research in the priority areas will see more commercialisation and ultimately more jobs for Ireland.” Commenting on how this announcement will impact positively on Ireland, Regina Moran, CEO of Fujitsu Ireland said, “The aim of the research programme is to ensure that the results it delivers are the seeds for the innovation of commercial services and products right here in Ireland. If Ireland is to succeed in being a leader in technology innovation, investment in world-class research programmes such as this, here in Ireland, are critical. We cannot stand in the wings waiting for innovations elsewhere in the world to reach us, we need to demonstrate leadership.” The research will be led by Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway and one of the leading scientists in the Semantic Web field.  He and the research team will be investigating models and approaches for integrating and validating data available on the Internet with a view to enabling innovative applications and businesses to be designed and brought to the market across numerous industries. Professor Stefan Decker said:  "There was an immediate meeting of minds when we met with the team from Fujitsu. Their vision around human centric computing has great synergies with our research on the Semantic Web. This programme will create high-end research jobs in Ireland, adding to our team of scientists here. With a strong focus on innovation and research, we expect that more job opportunities will arise as the research progresses.” Welcoming the investment, Barry O’Leary, CEO IDA Ireland said “I would like to offer Fujitsu Ireland my congratulations on securing this important R&D investment from Fujitsu Laboratories.  The complexity of the project is a key endorsement of the calibre of personnel working in the Irish operation and further solidifies the company in Ireland.” This research programme with DERI will begin in July 2012.   -ends-

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Researchers Publish Results of an Iron Fertilisation Experiment in the Scientific Journal Nature Carbon can be transported to the bottom of the ocean, and stored there, by sinking microscopic phytoplankton following iron fertilization, according to a report co-authored by Professor Peter Croot, National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway in Nature this week. These findings are by no means a green light for using this approach to generate carbon offsets. The researchers note that further experiments are needed to evaluate the effects on ecology, climate and the processes that determine the composition of the environment. These results do however provide a valuable contribution to our understanding of the global carbon cycle. “These new data clearly shows that at the end of this phytoplankton bloom, a significant amount of the carbon was transported to the deep ocean over a relatively short time, a phenomenon which had not been observed in any great detail previously anywhere in the ocean” explained Dr Croot. Previous ocean iron fertilization experiments have failed to adequately demonstrate the fate of resulting phytoplankton population explosions and hence removal of carbon from the atmosphere to the deep ocean. Dr Peter Croot and colleagues from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, Germany, present multiple lines of evidence from the European Iron Fertilization Experiment in the Southern Ocean that suggest carbon is exported to the deep ocean as a result of iron fertilization. The ocean iron fertilization experiments induce phytoplankton blooms, and sinking particles are tracked from the surface to the ocean floor. Taken together, their data indicate that at least half of the bloom biomass sank to below 1,000 metres, where it could potentially be stored for centuries. The international team on board the research vessel Polarstern fertilized a part of the closed core of a stable eddy of the Southern Ocean with dissolved iron which stimulated the growth of unicellular algae (phytoplankton). The team followed the development of the phytoplankton bloom for five weeks from its start to its decline phase. The maximum biomass attained by the bloom was higher than that of blooms stimulated by the previous 12 iron fertilization experiments. According to Professor Dr Victor Smetacek and Dr Christine Klaas from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, this was all the more remarkable because the EIFEX bloom developed in a 100 metre deep mixed layer which is much deeper than hitherto believed to be the lower limit for bloom development.  The bloom was dominated by diatoms, a group of algae that require dissolved silicon to make their shells and are known to form large, slimy aggregates with high sinking rates at the end of their blooms. “We were able to prove that over 50 per cent of the plankton bloom sank below 1000 metre depth indicating that their carbon content can be stored in the deep ocean and in the underlying sediments for time scales of well over a century”, says Smetacek.  “These new findings highlight how differences between the species of phytoplankton that make up the community that formed the bloom can impact the sinking flux and transport of carbon as the bloom decays” adds Dr Croot. “This has implications for the biogeochemical cycling of other important elements in the ocean such as nitrogen, phosphorus and iron which are also part of the sinking material. In the context of Ireland’s marine areas, this work suggests a new area of focus for research targeting the end of phytoplankton blooms, rather than the traditional emphasis on the start of the spring bloom, in order to improve our overall understanding of how this economically important ecosystem functions.” Iron plays an important role in the climate system. It is involved in many biochemical processes such as photosynthesis and is hence an essential element for biological production in the oceans and, therefore, for CO2 absorption from the atmosphere. During past ice ages the air was cooler and drier than it is today and more iron-containing dust was transported from the continents to the ocean by the wind. The iron supply to marine phytoplankton was hence higher during the ice ages. This natural process is simulated in iron fertilisation experiments under controlled conditions. The EIFeX (European Iron Fertilisation Experiment) was a collaborative effort that involved representatives of 14 institutes and 3 companies from 7 European countries and the Republic of South Africa. -ends- http://www.nature.com/news/dumping-iron-at-sea-does-sink-carbon-1.11028

Monday, 23 July 2012

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway is currently recruiting parents of young children to take part in an online education programme. The programme offers parents the opportunity to access information relating to the treatment of coughs and colds in their young children. It will focus on dispelling myths relating to over the counter treatments and provide instruction on how to cope with a sick child. The overall aim of the session is to inform and help parents.  Young children are at greatest risk of frequent colds, with children catching as many as seven to ten colds throughout the year, not just during the winter months. There are more than 200 different cold viruses, and signs and symptoms tend to vary greatly.  The online programme is part of a research project being carried out at NUI Galway by Dr Jane Walsh, a lecturer in psychology at NUI Galway, and PhD student Teresa Corbett. Parents will be in with the chance to win one of two prizes worth €50 in return for their participation in this study. The researchers are specifically interested in hearing from parents of children aged 3-6 years of age.   Dr Walsh said: “We all hate to see our children suffer with the symptoms of a cough or cold, so it is important for parents of young children to take the time to learn what can be done to ease those symptoms appropriately. This project is hoping to establish if online education systems may be delivered effectively to help these individuals. Busy parents can simply log on and learn how a cold can be managed effectively.” “This online setting is particularly fitting for parents as it may be accessed at their convenience, fitting in with their hectic daily schedule”, added Dr Walsh. “The programme layout is easy to use and does not take long for busy individuals who would like to log on and learn more about these everyday symptoms in their child.”  The programme is designed to be accessible to all people who have a computer. GPs, friends and family are encouraged to refer interested individuals to participate. For further information, please contact Teresa Corbett, at t.corbett2@nuigalway.ie, or go to http://www.nuigalway.ie/psy/sub/coughsandcolds.html -ends-

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

NUI Galway is delighted to support the 2012 Umbro Galway Cup which is now regarded as one of the leading underage soccer tournaments in Europe. Attracting teams from nine countries across the globe including Spain, Sweden, Canada, Finland Russia and Israel, the 2012 tournament is no exception with 49 teams competing. Almost 1,100 soccer players and officials will be in Galway for the four-day tournament running from 8-11 August. Matches will take place in Drom Soccer Park in Rahoon, while the teams will stay in NUI Galway’s campus accommodation, Corrib Village, and avail of the campus catering facilities in the University restaurants. Speaking at the launch of NUI Galway’s sponsorship of the 2012 Tournament, Dr Jim Browne said: “NUI Galway is delighted to support the Umbro Galway Cup which gives Irish players a chance to compete at the highest echelons in soccer at a young age. We have a distinguished tradition of sport on our campus and we recognise that participation in this competition is an enriching experience for young soccer players. I am delighted to see that over 30 Irish teams will compete and on a personal note I’m looking forward to welcoming Manchester City players and officials to campus as I’m a keen Man City supporter!” Salthill Devon Club Chairman, Ollie Daniels, said: “The participation of overseas teams including leading English, Spanish, Russian and Norwegian clubs is a reflection of the standard of the tournament. Obviously this presents a fantastic opportunity for young Irish players and as it exposes them to different styles of football and is a huge learning experience for all.” Established over eight years ago this annual tournament is going from strength to strength.  Corrib Village and other NUI Galway campus facilities have been used right from the start and this successful partnership has aided the development of the competition. Over 3,000 meals are served on campus on a daily basis through out the competition with a particular focus on healthy options. Former Ireland U15 and U16 Manager, Vincent Butler, said: “The Galway Cup is an excellent competition. Apart from the first class facilities and single location, which makes it so convenient to view, the standard has greatly improved each year. It’s an ideal situation to observe and discover talented aspiring young underage internationals, several of whom I have selected to play for Ireland.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pictured receiving the first of the Postgraduate Scholarships on offer from NUI Galway for 2012 are Kim Merrifield (left) and Richard Iyede (right) with NUI Galway Registrar and Deputy President Nollaig Mac Congáil (centre). Kimberly has been awarded the Scholarship to take up the MA in Community Development, while Richard will start the MApplSc (Enterprise Systems) in September of this year.  NUI Galway announced details of the new scholarships scheme for postgraduate students for 2012 following cuts to maintenance grants for postgraduate students in Budget 2011. In total, 100 new scholarships will be awarded at €2,000 per student before the start of the new academic year. Deadline for scholarship applications is Friday, 10 August. The new initiative is open to postgraduate students, applying for a fulltime Taught Masters programme due to commence in autumn 2012. Scholarships will be awarded to students accepted on a fulltime taught masters and who fulfill the criteria as outlined by the University. Details of the new Postgraduate Scholarships include: 100 scholarships at €2,000 per student For students who have been accepted on to full-time Taught Masters programmes in 2012/13  Who have a First Class Honours undergraduate degree  And who were in receipt of a Local Authority Higher Education Grant for their undergraduate degree For more information on postgraduate programmes and the scholarships scheme visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships or phone 091 492844 or email postgrad@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A study of the decision making processes fuelling changes to Wikipedia is underway at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway. With almost four million articles, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers and is the sixth most visited site on the web today. DERI-based PhD researcher Jodi Schneider is investigating the decision factors and arguments used in the often-complex debates around article deletion. In recognition of this research, the New Jersey native has been awarded the prestigious Zipf fellowship with an accompanying cash award of $10,000. Sponsored by the US Council on Library and Information Resources, the award is given annually to acknowledge one outstanding postgraduate student who shows exceptional promise for leadership and technical achievement in information management. Jodi Schneider explains her work: “Under the calm exterior of the Wikipedia website lies a seething hive of activity where an average of 7,000 articles are deleted on a weekly basis. Deleting articles is beneficial as it helps to remove biased, irrelevant, and factually incorrect content from an encyclopedia where anyone can write anything. Significantly, around 500 of these deletions require community discussion. What interests me is how are these decisions made, and who makes them?” Schneider’s work will support Wikipedia editors in determining what content belongs on the site. Her research proposes the streamlining of 70% of debates on article deletion based on based on four factors: Notability, Sources, Maintenance, and Bias. According to Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway: “The focus of our research here at DERI is on networking the vast amounts of data and knowledge which exist in the online world, making it more accessible and understandable. Jodi’s work is a great example - Jodi is investigating the different ways how people argue online to achieve a consensus, enabling us to understand how people resolve arguments online. The Zipf fellowship and her work with Wikipedia are testament to her promising research.” DERI is one of the leading international web science research institutes interlinking technologies, information and people to advance business and benefit society.  Established in 2003 with funding from the Science Foundation Ireland, it is home to over 140 researchers, including 43 PhD students. -ends- ENDS