Thursday, 31 May 2012

Galway City’s St Patrick’s National School were recently presented with the ‘Know Your Council’ Award at a special ceremony held in the Galway Council Chamber recently. This was a mayoral initiative by Galway City Mayor Hildegarde Naughton in partnership with the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway. The objective of the competition is to raise awareness among senior classes in primary schools about the workings of local government. Over 370 pupils took part in the initiative and were presented with a certificate of participation. Ten primary schools reaching the final held in City Hall and two pupils from each school presented their projects to an independent adjudicating panel from NUI Galway including: Lorraine McIlrath and Mary Bernard of CKI, Dr Gerard Turley, Lecturer with the School of Business and Economics, Caitlín Nic an Ultaigh, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Fergal Landy, Researcher with the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, and Conor Quinn, Student of Sociology and Politics. The pupils' work will form part of an information pack on local government which will be distributed to all city primary schools in September. Adjudicator Dr Gerard Turley said: “The adjudicating panel was very impressed with St Patrick’s critical analysis and ability to inform local policy.” The winner of the most creative poster was Scoil Iognáid, the winner of the best content poster was Scoil An linbh Íosa, the winner of the best presentation was Scoil Idé and the winner of the best project content was Scoil San Phroinsais. Co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s CKI, Lorraine McIlrath, said: “It has been a fantastic partnership between NUI Galway and Galway City Council, and this initiative is an excellent model of how institutions can collaborate in developing a culture of political literacy among our young people.” Speaking after the event Mayor Naughton said: “We had a fantastic response to the initiative and you could see that all the pupils really enjoyed researching and presenting their projects. The standard was very high and the pupils displayed an excellent understanding of their local council. This is a new initiative which could be rolled out on an annual basis not only in Galway but nationwide. It is important that we set up a programme nationally to continue this work to assist our young people in informing themselves on local government. I would like to thank all the schools who participated in this initiative and partners NUI Galway who administered and adjudicated the project.” The projects will be on display in City Hall for the next few weeks and they will form part of an information pack which will be distributed to all city primary schools. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Galway girl and NUI Galway student Móna Wise will launch her first book The Chef & I this Thursday, 31 May, in Cases Wine Warehouse, Galway. Part memoir, part cookery book, this heartwarming read, which began life as an assignment for Móna’s studies on the BA with Creative Writing Degree at NUI Galway, tells the story of Móna and her American husband, chef Ron, who she met while working in the US in the 1990s . A widely appealing story of love at first sight – and first bite – the book reminds readers to chase their dreams and enjoy delicious food on the journey. 75 pages of autobiography serve as an appetizer for 100 pages of recipes, with enticing images of food, family and fun scattered throughout the text. Parents to four children, Rory, Jack, Sam and Lulu, ranging in age from 10 to 6, the recipes in the book include family favorites such as the recipe for BBQ Ribs and coleslaw and the children's favourite birthday cake ‘Black Magic’. “I have had this story kicking around in my head ever since I saw the Chef’s tattered and torn recipe books, but it was not until I enrolled in my writing course that I felt I might have what it takes to write a book,” said Mona. “I knew, given the schedule and deadlines that if I had the opportunity to ‘live the life of a writer’ while still in college I would give it my best effort,” continued Mona. “Our story appeals to many readers because it is a true story showing how we built our family in a different way and recipes for all the fabulous food we have shared with friends over the years”. Returning from the US in 2008, where Móna and Ron ran a restaurant together, Móna took time out to write and enrolled on the 4-year BA with Creative Writing programme at NUI Galway, studying German and English Literature together with a specialism in Creative Writing. The book is her third-year ‘Independent Writing’ project, for which Eoin Purcell of New Island Press was commissioned as editor-mentor. Commenting on the book, the director of the BA with Creative Writing at NUI Galway, Dr John Kenny, said: “On our programme we are interested in how creative expression in itself can in turn be used to generate professional possibilities, and Móna is a prime example of what can be achieved when the opportunity for supervised self-directed learning is energetically grasped. With still a year to go to graduation, here she is with a weekly column in the Sunday Times, a widely admired blog, and now her first book – it's all a gratifying testament to her good will, hard work and downright gumption.” Móna’s work has recently attracted the attention of the national press and she has commenced writing her own lifestyle and food column for the Sunday Times Sunday Magazine. Móna’s blog wisewords.ie has now become well established and she is a familiar face at foodies’ gatherings. Her site has thousands of followers who log on for her regular restaurant reviews, wine writing, food-book reviews, recipes and child-rearing experiences. In addition to her column in the Sunday Times, readers can catch up with Móna on Twitter @WiseMona, Facebook  Móna Wise or WiseWords or follow her Blog www.WiseWords.ie The Chef & I will be available from Kennys.ie from May 31st and retails at €25 and is also available at locally in Galway at Cases Wine Warehouse, Charlie Byrnes Bookshop, McCambridges, Sheridans Cheesemongers and the NUI Galway Bookshop. ENDS

Thursday, 8 March 2012

68% say the re-introduction of a water charge would change their water usage 86% say they were concerned about the environment 89% say ‘I try to reduce the amount of food waste my household produces’ There has been a marked improvement in environmental awareness in Ireland over the past decade reveals the ConsEnSus Lifestyle Survey published today by NUI Galway and funded under the EPA’s STRIVE Research programme. The same survey reported that approximately one fifth of all survey respondents had changed their energy supplier to a renewable energy supplier in the past five years and a large percentage (almost 70%) of respondents stated that the re-introduction of water charges would lead to a change in water usage.The ConsEnSus (Consumption, Environment and Sustainability) Lifestyle Survey was carried out by researchers in the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway with 1,500 households nationwide between 2010 and 2011. The aim of this survey was to obtain an understanding of people’s attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable household consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The survey explored respondents’ household behaviours in the areas of mobility, food, water and energy use. The questionnaire also examined attitudes towards the environment, towards environmental responsibility as well as attitudes towards perceived levels of environmental control and perceptions of quality of life.According to the project manager Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway: “The survey is the first of its kind in the island of Ireland and the results have produced a huge database on public attitudes and actions towards consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The respondents were asked questions that went further than how and when they undertook certain everyday activities – for example transport to work choices, water or energy conservation activities – focussing on why they undertake these activities. The results provide extremely useful data revealing underlying motivations for many consumption activities and lifestyle choices.”The ConsEnSus factsheets released today comprise some of the highlights and key findings from this the first national dataset on attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable household consumption and sustainable lifestyles across the island of Ireland.High levels of environmental concern across all age groupsThis study found encouragingly high levels of reported environmental concern (86% or 1,289 respondents stated that they were concern about the environment). Similar levels of environmental concern were recorded across all age cohorts; with slightly higher levels of concern noted amongst respondents in the 50-65 age category (88%) and also in the 65-79 age group (88%), in comparison to respondents in the younger 18-33 age categories (83%).Over half of the respondents (58%) felt that they needed ‘to behave in a more environmentally friendly way’ and 82% believed that their personal behaviour could make a difference to the environment.Impact of eco-labels on productsIn the Lifestyle Survey approximately two-thirds of all respondents agreed with the statement, ‘I trust eco-labels’. 66% of survey respondents stated that they pay attention to where and how the food they buy is produced.Concern about food wasteWithin the sustainable food movement, a particular concern is the large amount of waste occurring at every stage of the food chain. Many factors contribute to food waste and recent reports estimate that wasted food costs each Irish household approximately €700 annually (EPA, 2011). The findings highlight public attitudes and behaviour towards food waste in Irish households. A significant majority of respondents (89%) agreed with the statement ‘I try to reduce the amount of food waste my household produces’. The most common reasons for throwing food away are: ‘Too much is bought and it expires’ and ‘Food goes off because of a change in plans’. Just over a third of all participants claimed to never throw food away.Awareness of water usage and impact of proposed water charges With the cost of providing clean drinking water escalating, and with the proposed re-introduction of water charges for domestic dwellings, water and water conservation in particular, has become a very important issue for policy makers, businesses and consumers alike. The Lifestyle Survey found that a substantial number of respondents to the survey (40%) stated that they do not pay attention to the amount of water they use in their homes. Over one third of all respondents (34%) reported drinking bottled water on a daily basis.80% of all respondents surveyed across the island stated that there is ‘a need to save water’ with just 10% of respondents believing that there was no need to conserve water.Finally, 68% of survey respondents stated that the re-introduction of a water charge would change their water usage.Recent changeover to renewable energy suppliersJust over one fifth of respondents (21%) had changed to a renewable energy supplier in the past five years. Of these respondents; 65% stated ‘financial reasons’ as their rationale for this behaviour and only 9% reported ‘solely environmental reasons’. Respondents in the 34-49 age group were most likely to have changed to a renewable energy supplier.Public willingness to improve energy efficiency of homes, but little actionThe Lifestyle Survey found that although almost three quarters of all respondents (73%) stated that they would be willing to install insulation in their homes, less than one quarter of respondents (23%) had actually done so in the past five years.Prominence of private car use 71% of respondents who reported commuting to work, school or college stated that they usually drive a car. When respondents were asked what would encourage people to reduce their car journeys, 53% of the sample stated ‘improved, more affordable public transport’, 12% of the people reported ‘financial incentives to encourage walking and cycling’ and a further 12% citied ‘improved bike lanes, footpaths and pedestrian crossings’.Respondents who failed to use available public transport viewed it as ‘too restrictive’ (42%), ‘too unreliable’ (11%) and ‘too expensive’ (7%). 27% of urban dwellers who participated in the survey stated that there was no public transport available at all for their commute to work, school or college. The survey indicates that rural Ireland is particularly affected by gaps in public transport provision. Almost half of all rural respondents reported that there is no public transport for their commute to work, school or college.Marked improvement in environmental awareness over the past 10 years The results of this survey indicated that almost one third of all respondents reported not being well informed about the environmental impact of the products they used. However, this could be viewed as a positive finding when considered in light of the results of a previous national survey on attitudes and actions (Drury Research Study) conducted in Ireland in 2000, which indicated that over three quarters of the respondents were not well informed about environmental issues and stated that they wanted more information. In terms of reported levels of environmental awareness, the island is in line with many European countries; with 59% of the respondents in this study stating that they felt well informed of the environmental impacts of products in comparison to 55% of respondents in a recent Eurobarometer Study of European citizens (2009).In response to the establishment of this national database and launch of the preliminary findings Mr Kevin Woods, EPA said: “The establishment of this national database on sustainable consumption and lifestyles is significant and is an important step in moving towards sustainability in the key areas of water, energy, transport and consumer behaviour.”ENDS

Monday, 2 April 2012

Galway’s first app-oriented competition reveals talented coders among the NUI Galway and GMIT student population The winners of CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students have been announced. First prize in the individual went to GMIT, with NUI Galway scooping first prize in the group category. The competition was designed by local businesses and academics to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own tech ideas. Individuals and groups were encouraged to build web and mobile applications, and were given a number of tutorials and workshops along the way. First prize in the individual category went to GMIT student Cathal Mac Donnacha from Rossaveal, creator of ‘iSpeak’. This application allows people with differing native languages to communicate with each other through a Windows Phone 7 Mobile application. One person speaks in their phrase, it is converted to text and sent to a translation service, and the result is spoken to the second person in their native language. The application was selected as the individual winner due to its novel use of both software APIs and hardware elements like the phone’s accelerometer to achieve its aims. Cathal won an iPad for his winning app. The first prize of €500 in the group category was given to the app ‘What’s the Score’, created by NUI Galway students Mike Rockall and Con Crowley, who are both from Oranmore. ‘What’s the Score’ is a mobile application for taking scores during any type of sports game, and for reporting both ongoing and final results through a website to interested parties. In their decision, the judges cited its easy usability for small sports clubs and teams, including Facebook user logon functionality, and also highlighted its strong commercial potential. Runner-up prizes were awarded to the group project ‘Message in a Bottle’, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep these messages or throw them back in the ocean, and to the individual entry ‘Implexis Adiutor’, a crossword solver application for Android phones. John Breslin, NUI Galway Lecturer in Engineering and Informatics and co-founder of the StreamGlider app for iPad, said: “We were delighted with the high standard of apps developed as part of our inaugural CodeNinja competition. It was great to see a range of areas targeted, from sports to leisure games to language translation. We are hoping that this will be the first in a series of CodeNinja events to raise the level of app development skills amongst Galway’s student population that will then diffuse into industry as our students take on roles in local Galway companies.” Damien Costello, GMIT Lecturer in Software Development, said: “Competitions like CodeNinja are a great initiative. It is an ideal forum for students to showcase their creative abilities and their programming capabilities to their peers and to local industries. It allows our students to take their mobile development skills learned as part of the Software Development course to the next level.” Judging the competition were NUI Galway’s John Breslin, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Dr Jim Duggan, Information Technology, Dr Michael Lang, Business Information Systems, Clodagh Barry, Bright Ideas Initiative, and local company founders Paul Killoran, Ex Ordo, Michael FitzGerald, OnePageCRM and Dave Kelly, BeautyBoss. Professor Chris Curtin, Vice-President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway, presented the prizes. GMIT’s Software Development students and lecturers have been working with four client companies specialising in app development in GMIT's Innovation in Business Centre (IiBC). Known as the GMIT App Cluster Group, the four client companies and staff and students hold an App Bash Session every two months with each company presenting their commercial app for review by the other client companies, the students and lecturers. In turn, the students present their apps and have them reviewed by the app cluster group. These sessions have been of great benefit to the GMIT software development students. They also serve as a good sounding board for ideas and as a focus group for testing and feedback on work being done. -ENDS- In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the individual category was ‘Implexis Adiutor’, a crossword solver application for Android phones. Pictured is its creator, GMIT Computer and Software Development Student at GMIT, Carles Sentis, who is originally from Barcelona. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the individual winner prize of an iPad went to GMIT student Cathal Mac Donnacha from Rossaveal.  The fourth-year Software Development student, created ‘iSpeak’, a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 based application which allows people with differing native languages to communicate with each other. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the group category went ‘Message in a Bottle’, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep these messages or throw them back in the ocean. Demonstrating the app are two of its creators Aleksei Lorenz, a first year Computer Science student at NUI Galway who is originally from Belarus, and Yan Chak Or, and Administration & Informations Systems student at GMIT, who is originally from Hong Kong. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the first prize of €500 in the group category was given to ‘What’s the Score’, created by NUI Galway students Con Crowley and Mike Rockall, who are both from Oranmore. ‘What’s the Score’ is a mobile application for taking scores during any type of sports game, and for reporting both ongoing and final results through a website to interested parties. Both in their final year, Con is studying Mechanical Engineering, while Mike is studying Sports & Exercise Engineering.

Monday, 2 April 2012

NUI Galway biomedical science students recently held a presentation day, to showcase the projects which they completed as part of the community knowledge initiative (CKI) module. This module introduces students to the concept of service-learning* and aims to link classroom learning and community service to enrich learning experiences and emphasise civic responsibility. The module gives the opportunity for students to learn and develop through active participation in experiences that meet real community needs. The module is integrated into the students’ curriculum to provide structured time to think, talk and report on their activities, while also working as part of a team. The four main projects this academic year included: Off Bio Heart: The development of a smart phone application to deliver video-based footage of curriculum-based biology laboratory practicals to Leaving Certificate students. This project, supervised by NUI Galway’s Dr Lynn O’Connor, Biomedical Science, and Dr Des Chambers, Engineering, was in collaboration with MSc in Software Design and Development postgraduate students Janette Saunders, Mel Reynolds, Karen Staunton and Shane O’Sullivan. Awareness of Hypertension as a Cardiovascular Risk Factor in a Third-Level Educational Institution: This Croí/CKI Health Promotion Initiative was supervised by Dr Ger Flaherty, Medicine Lecturer at NUI Galway, with the group reaching over 150 staff and students at the University.  Student Health Connect Mentors: Students acted as mentors both inside the University and in local schools, giving student-centred information about sexual health, alcohol and other drugs, mental health and nutrition. The project was supervised by NUI Galway Lecturer in Medicine, Dr Brian Stewart. Awareness day for the Irish Therapy Dogs Association:  This voluntary body provides physical, therapeutic and educational benefit to people in hospitals, nursing homes, day care centres, schools and other places where people may be restricted from having pets and where the presence of dogs, and their handlers, will add comfort and support. The students also researched the growing interest in the use of dogs in medicine focusing on functions distinct from the role of the therapy dogs, producing and distributed a calendar highlighting the current and expanding roles of dogs in diagnostic medicine. At the annual showcase, Dr Lynn O’Connor, module coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “These community experiences bring the curriculum alive to the students and we appreciate the commitment of our community partners for providing these rich learning experiences for our second year students.”  Brenda Rickard, Chief Executive of the Irish Therapy Dogs Associates, said: “Irish Therapy Dogs very much appreciate the hard work and commitment shown by the students of NUI Galway in increasing awareness about the benefits of pet therapy and the importance of the work that we do.” Programme Director, Dr Maura Grealy, added: “The programme has surpassed my expectations in promoting student development awareness of community needs, organisational skills and confidence; they have done great work and I am very proud of them.” This is the third year that the module has been offered to students of Biomedical Science and it has become a very positive aspect of the academic programme at NUI Galway. Over 40 degree programmes at NUI Galway include a service learning module. Engineering students find solutions to community problems, Occupational Therapy students roll out essential services to schools and hostels and Maths students work in second level schools and share their knowledge through a creative Maths curriculum. For further information is available at www.nuigalway.ie/cki and www.irishtherapydogs.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 2 April 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to a CAO Information Evening in Roscommon on Thursday, 19 April. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in The Abbey Hotel, Roscommon Town. The evening will begin with a short presentation on college and student life at NUI Galway and will focus on some of the 60 courses the University offers. There will be a number of career talks focusing on different employment options available to students on completion of their studies. These will include talks on Arts, Science, Business and Law, Engineering, Medicine and Health Sciences. 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 suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. “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 Roscommon, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Roscommon 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 CAO Information Evening in Roscommon, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Gráinne Dunne, Schools Liaison Office on 087 2440858 or grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 2 April 2012

NUI Galway lights up The Quadrangle which turned blue last night in advance of World Autism Awareness Day (today) Monday, 2 April, 2012. Lights were turned on as part of the Autism Speaks campaign 'Light it Up Blue' which works with a range of partners to light up major global landmarks in order to draw attention to the issue of autism. The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway was officially opened by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in February. Through scientific research, education and services to the community, ICAN is dedicated to ensuring improvements for individuals with autism and their families. To read Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research at NUI Galway, opinion piece in the Irish Examiner click here

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The 2012 Debating Science Issues All-Ireland Finals will be held on Thursday, 19 April, at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in Dublin. The Finals, co-ordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, will see four teams of secondary school students from across the country debating their way to be crowned All-Ireland champions. This is the only All-Ireland collaborative science outreach initiative of its kind.  A field of 40 schools has been narrowed to just four through 36 provincial rounds of debates held between January and March. The four secondary schools in the final will be: St. Catherine’s Vocational School, Killybegs, Donegal; Clonakilty Community College, Co. Cork; St. Andrews College, Blackrock, Dublin; and Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town.  The first two debates, St. Catherine’s Vocational School against St. Andrews College, and Abbey Vocational School against Clonakilty Community College, will focus on the moral obligation to explore research with embryonic stem cells due to the potential to develop new medical treatments.  The winners of the debates will then meet to debate the necessity of animal testing for advancing disease treatment. Debating Science Issues encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. The competition is led by REMEDI at NUI Galway and collaborators include APC at UCC, BDI at DCU, RCSI, CIT, CRANN at Trinity College, W5 in Belfast, Clarity at UCD and the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh.  Danielle Nicholson, All-Ireland Co-ordinator of Debating Science Issues (DSI), said: “This project provides a great opportunity for the teachers and students to be exposed to some of the latest developments in biomedical research and also to consider the ethical elements which can be a great hook to interest the public in the scientific topics. Data collected from five cycles of DSI involving more than 3,500 students shows an increase in interest in science as a subject and as a career as a result of participation in the project.” This schools’ biomedical science workshop series and debate competition has been supported by the Wellcome Trust for five consecutive years.  Provincial trophies and prizes are provided by Abbott Ireland, Boston Scientific, Merck- Millipore and Pfizer Ireland.  Every year the project has evolved and has responded to the feedback gathered continuously throughout the project.  This year a new Topic Guide on rare diseases has been introduced and a dedicated website has also been developed, www.debatingscienceissues.com . -ENDS-

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The NUI Galway Society Awards 2012 took place recently in the Radisson Blu Hotel with 26 awards presented to students. The Society Awards celebrate the contribution which over 100 societies make to the University and the wider community. This year, the NUI Galway societies organised almost 4,000 events of educational, cultural, social and humanitarian value. In the last eight years NUI Galway’s societies have contributed over €1.5 million to charity, with the 863 committee members volunteering to the equivalent working hours as 95 full-time workers this year, with a turnover of over €1 million, making a significant financial contribution to the local community. The Business Society picked up three awards including Best Society, Best Online Presence and Best Large Publication. The Drama Society also scooped three awards, Best Poster, Best Photo for Paul O'Mahony from Galway City and Best Fresher for Christopher Moran from Arklow, Co. Wicklow. Best Individual Award went to Lily McGarry from Whitechurch, Co. Dublin, conductor of the Choral Society. Most Improved Society went to the Engineering Society, who reinvented themselves in conjunction with the opening of the new Engineering Building, and in addition to a packed programme of events, the society will send over 30 students to Zambia with Habitat for Humanity in June. Best Society Event went to the Music and Ents Society and Rock Soc for their band competition Witless. Best New Society was presented to the Lotus Society, who made yoga widely accessible to the student population, with the Physics Society picking up the Best Academic Society. Best Civic Contribution went to the Feminist Society, a new society which has made its presence felt on campus this year with a packed programme of awareness raising events. Most Soccesful Society went to the Musical Society, the Phoenix Award to An Cumann Craic and Best Multimedia Award presented to Michael Talty and the Film Society for their work on s:tv|Galway. Best Cultural Contribution went to Traditional Music Society and An Cumann Soisialta won two awards for publications for their Nuachtlitir an Acadaimh, and Chess and Go Society for their monthly publication Knight’s Atari. The Muscailt Awards, presented for contribution to the University Arts Week from the ArtsOffice, went to the Musical Society, Photo Soc and Comic Book Society. Dramsoc won the ALIVE award for volunteering.Special Achievement Awards were presented to: Laura Donnelly, Musical Society; Chemistry Society; Thor McVeigh, Organiser of Witless; Timothy Morrow, Lit & Deb Society; Sean Burke, Accountancy and Finance Society; Robyn Allen, for his contribution to numerous societies; Lisa Grant, Art and Fansci Societies; Ronan Gallagher, Dramsoc; Classics Soceity; FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centre) Society; Michael Slevin, French and Biz Society; and the International Students Society. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Séagh MacSiúrdain from Galway City, and the Society Outstanding Achievement Award went to Nollaig O’Scannlain from Athlone, Co. Westmeath.Riona Hughes, NUI Galway Societies Officer, said: “The gala event is a fitting celebration of the extraordinary dedication and commitment of the students involved in societies. Not only do they make significant contributions to the campus and the wider community, but what they learn as individuals prepares them to take their place in the world as contributing citizens and augurs well for all our futures.” For information on NUI Galway’s Societies visit www.socs.nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Vitamin D and Lifestyle Interventions to be Trialled Pregnant women are currently being recruited into a new NUI Galway-led clinical trial which hopes to develop effective measures to prevent Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). Participants will randomly receive either vitamin D or a specific diet or lifestyle intervention, including physical activity by a lifestyle coach or a combination of diet and physical activity. The trial hopes to establish whether any or all of these interventions prevent GDM, which can have serious consequences for mother and baby during the pregnancy and later in life. Vitamin D deficiency is more common in overweight and obese women and is associated with insulin resistance, a precursor of GDM. Leading Consultant Endocrinologist and Head of School of Medicine NUI Galway, Professor Fidelma Dunne is heading up the research: “Gestational diabetes occurs in 12% of pregnancies and carries with it increased risks for both mother and baby. This pan-European study will help inform us of the best strategy to prevent GDM and in doing so also prevent diabetes long-term in mother and infant.” The study is being coordinated through the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway. Women who are less than 12 weeks pregnant and are overweight (BMI>29) and who will give birth at Galway University Hospitals are invited to participate on the study. All participants will be followed from 12 weeks of pregnancy until delivery. Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is diabetes first diagnosed during pregnancy and is more common in women who are overweight or obese. Possible complications are oversized babies, birth trauma and even intra-uterine death. Neonatal abnormalities can also occur, including low blood sugar, difficulty breathing and jaundice. The maternal risks include an increased risk of caesarean delivery, pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Professor Dunne explains: “GDM therefore, is a significant public health concern for women and their babies in Ireland. GDM can also lead to future diabetes in the mother and diabetes and obesity in the offspring. While diabetes is traditionally associated with sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet, the currently observed growth in developed countries is greater than expected from lifestyle changes alone. Evidence is accumulating that GDM is a more important contributor to these epidemics than previously recognised.” The research is part of a large scale, pan-European research project involving 13 partners from 11 countries, and over 800 pregnant women. The DALI project is funded by a European FP7 grant totalling €4 million. Those interested in finding out more about the study should contact Professor Fidelma Dunne or Veronica McInerney, Clinical Manager at the Clinical Research Facility, NUI Galway on 091 495964. -ends-

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Researchers at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute are at the centre of conservation efforts in relation to mining for precious minerals at the depths of our oceans. In this new ‘gold rush’, the ecological assessment of the effects of mining operations will be key to sustainably exploiting resources at these very important habitats, according to organisers of a major workshop next week. The Ryan Institute’s Patrick Collins and Dr Bob Kennedy have scheduled a high-level international workshop from 10-12 April with the aim of standardising methods used for assessing the ecological impacts of commercial mineral extraction at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Sometimes called ‘black smokers’ these volcano like structures sit thousands of metres under the sea and produce “seafloor massive sulphides”, sediments that are very rich in copper, zinc, gold and silver. They also support an array of unique life forms. The minerals found at hydrothermal-vents are increasingly in demand, for potential uses in the production of superconductors, precision lasers and other electronics. “We are seeing a gold rush to the bottom of the sea”, says Dr Bob Kennedy, an expert in benthic (sea floor) ecology with the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. “Valuing the goods and services provided by ecosystems is always a difficult compromise. Mining hydrothermal vents involves the removal of the vents and adjacent seafloor massive sulphides using cutting and suction devices to transfer the ore to barges at sea. Where mining occurs, the habitat will be completely removed and there will be substantial disturbance to the adjacent area.” The workshop, VentBase, is supported by the International Seabed Authority and InDeep, the international network for scientific investigations of deep-sea ecosystems. VentBase is set to attract academics and high-profile delegates from all over the world, including delegations from government bodies such as IFREMER in France, JAMSTEC in Japan, KORDI in Korea and NIWA in New Zealand. Commercial mining companies will also attend, with a presentation by Nautilus Minerals, the first company to actually begin mining. At present there is just one site, Solawara 1 near Papua New Guinea, where mining is being actively developed. It has led to many calls in the scientific community and general press for a halt to mining at hydrothermal vent sites because of their high biodiversity value.   A biologist with the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, Patrick Collins was part of an expedition last summer which discovered a new hydrothermal vent site in the Atlantic. While actual mining is probably a decade away in the North Atlantic, he believes this is the ideal time for Ireland to take a central role in managing this unique biological resource. He comments: “From a conservation perspective, vents are one of the last remaining wild frontiers. We are only beginning to scratch at the surface of this enormous biotechnological resource. Animals at these sites have adapted to a very harsh, toxic and radioactive environment. Their tissue often has increased regenerative powers and may hold secrets to new medicines and useful materials. Life at these depths is not based on photosynthesis, but on turning energy from the earth’s core directly to biomass. This may be a good model for what life on other planets may be like. We should value giant tubeworms and bizarre blind shrimp for their quasi alien nature, and for reminding us that there is always the possibility of innovation in solving any problem, even if it seems like alchemy at first glance.” Despite there being data available from many cruises to investigate hydro-thermal vents, the information is often collected in a different way by each operator, meaning that it is very hard to compare vent sites to each other and to use evidence to make general statements about important processes at vent sites. The organisers of VentBase hope the event will help to develop protocols for the collection of rigorous and comparable evidence from many hydrothermal vents sites around the world. “The pulse of progress in the deep-oceans quickened after the announcement of James Cameron’s successful solo-expedition to its deepest recess,” says Dr Kennedy. “Cameron was only the third human to touch down and the first to film the 11km depths of the Marianas Trench. To put this in context, four times as many people have walked on the moon and over five hundred people have been into space. The deep sea is largely unknown territory and we must consider many ecological aspects before we throw open the doors to mining.” To listen to Patrick Collins on Radio One click here ENDS  

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

BioInnovate Ireland is delighted to announce the recruitment of the next elite, multidisciplinary teams for the start of the 2012 Fellowship Programme which commences in August this year.  Now in its second year, BioInnovate is a specialist training programme modelled on the Biodesign programme offered at Stanford University. The BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme was developed in 2010 and delivered by a consortium of Higher Education Institutions with the overall aim being the training of graduates to support the creation of new, cost-effective medical devices that improve patient care through a collaborative approach that focuses on the needs of patients, physicians and the health care industry as a whole. The two new Fellowship teams, each consisting of eight fellows, will be immersed in a medical device innovation microclimate and connected to biomedical engineering, product design, clinical, finance and business expertise. The Clinical focus for the 2012 Fellowship programme is Urology and Radiation Therapy with both NUI Galway and the University of Limerick hosting the 2012 teams.  Dr Mark Bruzzi, Programme Director based at NUI Galway, commented: “The standard of applications and competition for the Fellowship teams this year was very high with interest expressed from as far as India and China which demonstrates the excitement and appetite that exists amongst the Irish and international med tech environment for this type of programme.”  The impetus for the development of this specialist training programme emerged from the 2010 Innovation Taskforce Report. The new programme aims to hot-house, in the space of 10 months, talented individuals with multidisciplinary backgrounds to explore and develop in teams, opportunities for innovative medical devices. Professor Tim McGloughlin from UL added: "We are delighted to host a BioInnovate Fellowship Team at the University of Limerick.  This programme can transform the product development process in medical device technology while creating exciting new business opportunities by linking the academic and clinical environment to one of Ireland's most vibrant industrial sectors." It is envisaged that the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme will act as a catalyst for enhancing innovation in medical device development within Ireland. The successful recruitment of eight Fellows to work in two elite multidisciplinary teams is now complete and these two teams will focus on Urology and Radiation Therapy, identifying unmet needs, inventing solutions to meet those needs and implementing the solutions the Fellows will then map a route to commercialisation to enable these solutions to enhance patient care. Professor Frank Sullivan, Director of the Prostate Cancer Institute, NUI Galway, and Lead Clinician, Department of Radiation Oncology, Galway University Hospitals, welcomed the recruitment of this year’s teams. “The ability to look at the clinical problems we face on a daily basis, with a fresh perspective, is highly appealing. The prospects for novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches have never been greater in both the fields of surgery and radiation oncology.  We hope to focus the 2012 BioInnovate Fellows on the opportunity of developing exciting new therapies for prostate cancer. Ireland has the highest incidence of prostate cancer in Europe, and GUH in partnership with the PCI, are very excited to have individuals of such high calibre to work with.” The current Fellowship teams, due to complete the inaugural BioInnovate Progamme, are progressing their output of the 2011-12 programme with both the NUI Galway and the DCU teams focusing on developing and commercialising their concepts by summer 2012.  Dr Bruzzi added: “BioInnovate Ireland will have achieved its primary output with the next generation of specially trained Fellows and skill graduates emerging this summer.   This wealth of Med Tech BioInnovate talent will add value to the med tech market place over the coming months and we look forward to sharing the commercial opportunities and proposals as a result of the current Fellowship programme in May 2012.”  ENDS

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

NUI Galway and CPL Announced as Official Partners More than 500 volunteers have signed up to help out when the Volvo Ocean Race – the largest sporting event to hit Ireland this year and watched by 2 billion viewers worldwide – crosses the finish line in Galway in July.  But, there is still time to step up as a total of 2,000 volunteers need to be signed up over the next few weeks. Latest figures were revealed at the launch of the partnership of Volvo Ocean Race Galway with educational partners NUI Galway and recruitment partners CPL which took place durign Easter. Key speaker at the launch was Mayor of Galway City, Cllr Hildegarde Naughton who said that the support that NUI Galway and CPL provided made the made the festival possible and make it a very successful event. CPL have joined as the  recruitment partner  to take on the mammoth task of facilitating and coordinating the Volunteers that sign up, whilst  NUI Galway as education partners will bring its considerable experience in the field of volunteering. Both organisations will to work with non-profit event organiser Let’s Do It Global to help recruit and train over 1200 volunteers required to run the 9-day festival.  And, it seems that Galway is keen to offer a céad míle fáilte to the 700,000 expected visitors to its environs from June 30 to July 8 as people of all ages queued up at the launch for several hours on Wednesday evening to register their support. The volunteers are needed to help run the eight day festival organized by Lets Do It Global to celebrate the ending of the Volvo Ocean Race and will embrace everything from concerts, entertainment, arts, food, ice rinks and everything else in between. The festival has been created to embrace both consumer likes and business demands. A huge variety of sporting, kids, music and cultural events will be taking place in the Race Village. And a business expo, bringing together the best Irish companies and leaders with international financiers and potential partners in the areas of Green, Food and Marine, will take place during the festival in the Global Village. The majority of volunteers will be stewarding the Race Village and the Global Village car parks.  Other volunteers will man the numerous Information and merchandising stands across the festival site. And volunteers who don’t mind getting wet and are qualified in areas such as sailing, first aid and/or are senior sailing instructors will assist on water. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “NUI Galway is delighted to be on board with the Volunteering Programme for the second time. As Ireland’s leading University for student volunteering, we will bring our considerable expertise in the field of volunteering to bear in helping to mobilise and train the small army of volunteers required to ensure the smooth running of the 2012 Race. “Volunteers were key to the success of the Galway Stopover in 2009. They were the face of the event to visitors, and were really the heart and soul of the two-week festival. This time round I have no doubt the volunteers will make the same impact and will make a huge contribution to the overall success of the Race.” Last time the racing yachts from the contest came to town was in 2009 when Galway was a stopover point. Some 650,000 people visited the Race Village and 10,000 people lined the harbour walls at 3am on the morning of May 24 to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race fleet into Ireland. The Volvo Ocean Race is known as the ‘Everest of Sailing’ and is a nine-month marathon of the seas passing through four oceans and five continents covering 39,270 nautical miles. All volunteers will be invited to the Wrap-Up Gala and there will be prizes and surprises along the way.  Further information sessions will take place throughout April and May at various locations around Galway. Applicants will be matched to roles in early June.  For more details, visit www.volvooceanracegalway.com  ENDS

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Over 3,000 prospective students and their parents from across Ireland are expected to attend NUI Galway's Spring Open Day on Saturday, 28 April. Tailored towards Leaving Certificate and mature students interested in studying at NUI Galway, the Open Day will give the opportunity for students, along with their parents and families, to sample university life at NUI Galway. Taster sessions will run throughout the day, designed to give a real insight into studying at NUI Galway, with hands-on interactive Science Experience workshops and tours of the campus. New for 2012 is ‘Your Career with an Arts Degree’ - a specialised talk on the Bachelor of Arts providing an insight into the diverse range of careers from an Arts degree. Tours of the campus will feature the state-of the-art sports complex and gym, and the new Engineering Building. Tours of student accommodation will also be available to visitors on the day. Popular highlights for parents will be the talks, 'Focus on Your Career' and 'A Parent's Guide to University'. With a packed programme of events for all ages, including entertainment for younger children, the event is an ideal family day out. This year, all counties in Ireland will be represented by a team of 'student ambassadors', answering questions on specific courses and all aspects of university life. Lecturers and support staff will also be available at over 80 stands to deal with any queries about degrees, accommodation, finances and much more. Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, said: "Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions a student will ever make and parents play a key role in supporting students as they take this important next step. Open Day is the perfect opportunity for parents to ensure they have access to all of the information they need to support sons and daughters through their university career. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, check out the facilities and decide for yourself whether NUI Galway feels right for you. Spring Open Day has proved invaluable in the past to many students, particularly those considering their options before the CAO change of mind deadline of 1 July.” NUI Galway is an internationally recognised university with a distinguished reputation for teaching excellence and research. The University was recently awarded the top rating of stars in the latest QS Stars rating system for its exceptional developments in education, securing five stars for its teaching and facilities. The University is one of the top universities for student retention and graduate employment. NUI Galway recognises the academic excellence of its Undergraduate students annually with the presentations of such awards as Entrance Scholarships, Sports Scholarships, Scoláireachtaí na Gaeltachta and the Dr James Massey Keegan Scholarship. The University also awards ten scholarships for Medical students who perform exceptionally well in the Leaving Certificate and the Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). The NUI Galway Spring Open Day will run from 10am to 3pm and visitors can book a place and receive a programme in advance by logging on to www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, calling 091 494145 or emailing visit@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-   Lá don Teaghlach ag Lá Oscailte an Earraigh in OÉ Gaillimh  Táthar ag súil le breis agus 3,000 duine agus a dtuismitheoirí as gach contae in Éirinn freastal ar Lá Oscailte an Earraigh in OÉ Gaillimh Dé Sathairn, an 28 Aibreán. Tá an Lá Oscailte dírithe ar dhaltaí na hArdteistiméireachta agus ar dhaltaí lánfhásta a bhfuil spéis acu staidéar in OÉ Gaillimh. Beidh an deis ag daltaí agus ag a dtuismitheoirí agus a dteaghlaigh blaiseadh a fháil de shaol na hOllscoile in OÉ Gaillimh. Beidh seisiúin eolais ar siúl ar feadh an lae chun léargas a thabhairt ar shaol na hOllscoile in OÉ Gaillimh. Beidh ceardlanna praiticiúla idirghníomhacha Eolaíochta ar siúl chomh maith le turais den champas. Den chéad uair i mbliana beidh ‘Your Career with an Arts Degree’ - caint speisialta ar an mBaitsiléir sna Dána - ar siúl. Gheobhaidh éisteoirí blaiseadh den réimse gairmeacha atá ar fáil le céim sna Dána. Ar thurais den champas, taispeánfar an t-ionad spóirt le giomnáisiam den scoth mar aon leis an bhFoirgneamh nua Innealtóireachta. Beidh turais de lóistín na mac léinn ar fáil do chuairteoirí ar an lá chomh maith. Cuirfidh tuismitheoirí suim sna cainteanna, 'Focus on Your Career' agus 'A Parent's Guide to University'. Tá clár imeachtaí den scoth beartaithe don uile dhuine, siamsaíocht do ghasúir óga san áireamh - is cinnte gur iontach an lá a bheas ann don teaghlach ar fad. I mbliana, beidh ionadaíocht ag gach contae sa tír ag an ócáid le foireann ‘ambasadóirí na mac léinn', a fhreagróidh ceisteanna faoi chúrsaí ar leith agus faoi aon ghné de shaol na hOllscoile. Beidh léachtóirí agus an fhoireann tacaíochta ar fáil chomh maith ag breis agus 80 seastán chun ceisteanna faoi chéimeanna, lóistín, maoiniú agus go leor eile a fhreagairt. Dúirt Caroline Loughnane, an Stiúrthóir Margaíochta agus Cumarsáide in OÉ Gaillimh: “Ceann de na cinntí is tábhachtaí a dhéanfaidh mac léinn go brách an ollscoil a fhreastalóidh sé/sí uirthi a roghnú. Tá ról tábhachtach ag tuismitheoirí tacú le mic léinn agus iad i mbun an cinneadh sin a dhéanamh. Is é an Lá Oscailte an deis is fearr do thuismitheoirí a chinntiú go bhfuil an t-eolas ar fad acu chun tacú le mac nó le hiníon ag an ollscoil. Molaimid do dhuine ar bith a bhfuil suim acu staidéar in OÉ Gaillimh teacht chuig an Lá Oscailte, labhairt leis na léachtóirí agus leis na mic léinn reatha, eolas a fháil faoi chúrsaí, breathnú ar na háiseanna agus a fháil amach duit féin an bhfeileann OÉ Gaillimh duitse. Bhain go leor mac léinn leas as Lá Oscailte an Earraigh sna blianta roimhe seo go háirithe má bhí rún acu athrú intinne an CAO a úsáid roimh an spriocdháta an 1 Iúil.” Tá aitheantas idirnáisiúnta ag OÉ Gaillimh a bhfuil cáil an teagaisc agus an taighde uirthi. Bhain an Ollscoil na marcanna ab airde amach i gcóras rátála QS Stars le gairid as forbairtí den scoth in oideachas agus bhaineamar cúig réalta amach sa teagasc agus sna háiseanna chomh maith. Tá an Ollscoil ar cheann de na hollscoileanna is fearr ó thaobh mic léinn a choinneáil agus fostaíocht na gcéimithe. Tugann OÉ Gaillimh aitheantas d’fheabhas acadúil na bhFochéimithe gach bliain le gradaim cosúil le Scoláireachtaí Iontrála, Scoláireachtaí Spóirt, Scoláireachtaí na Gaeltachta agus Scoláireacht an Dr James Massey Keegan. Bronnann an Ollscoil deich scoláireacht freisin ar mhic léinn Leighis a dhéanann thar barr san Ardteistiméireacht agus sa Tástáil Iontrála (H-PAT Ireland). Beidh Lá Oscailte an Earraigh ar siúl idir 10am agus 3pm agus féadfaidh cuairteoirí áit a chur in áirithe agus clár imeachtaí a fháil roimh ré ach logáil isteach ar www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, glao ar 091 494145 nó ríomhphost a sheoladh chuig visit@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Niall O’Connor, an MSc student in Enterprise Systems at NUI Galway from Sligo, has scooped the top prize of €10,000 at the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards held recently for his Smart conferencing technology package SonorPlex. The creator of SonorPlex was presented with his prize by Dragon’s Den star Bobby Kerr, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne and NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Emmet Connolly. Niall’s product SonorPlex seeks to deliver services which enhance the learning and interactive experience of delegates at conferences, using 'smart' devices such as tablets and smartphones. SonorPlex will unify these services using a cloud-based system to store, and manage access to conference content and data. Judges were greatly impressed with SonorPlex and its potential to draw investment to the domestic economy. Eight teams contested the final of the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards in anticipation of securing an investment of €10,000 for the winning project. The competition is the initiative of the NUI Galway Students’ Union, with the support of NUI Galway and has the goal of fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst the students of the University. The competition successfully attracted entrants from across all of the colleges and schools of the University, from which eight ideas were chosen to progress to the final stage. The two runner-up prizes of €5,000 were awarded to Tunes in the Church and An Mheitheal Rothar. Cormac Ó Beaglaoich, hails from a traditional musical family in West-Kerry and is currently in his final year of a PhD in Psychology.  His project, Tunes in the Church, presents traditional Irish music concerts in churches around the country and has already been run in St. Nicholas Church in Galway. An Mheitheal Rothar (The Bicycle Gang) team hopes to set up a free, student-run bicycle workshop at NUI Galway to promote and support the benefits of bicycling. An Mheitheal Rothar is Paul O' Donnell an Arts Student from Galway, Mary Green a Geography Student also from Galway, Sarit O'Donovan, Environmental Science Student from Kerry and Senan Mac Aoidh an Arts Student from Monaghan. As part of the final assessment of their entries, students received an investment of €500 for their projects, and also received the assistance of specialised workshops from a team of experts, which was comprised of a combination of members of the academic staff of the University and members of the local business community. Bobby Kerr from RTÉ1 show Dragon’s Den, who presented the winning team with their prize said: “The drive, determination and enthusiasm of the students is fantastic. It is heartening to see that within NUI Galway the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. I would also like to congratulate the University and the Students’ Union for their vision in fostering the talents of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.” NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Emmet Connolly said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries to the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards. The entrants are testament to the exceptional initiative and creativity of students in social and business enterprise. They show that students are both able and willing to create the big ideas that will help fuel our recovery. The Students’ Union is delighted to be in a position to facilitate some of these ideas as they take their first steps. I have no doubt but that we are working with the leaders of the future.” ENDS

Friday, 13 April 2012

A team of Scientists led by Dr. Louise Allcock, NUI Galway set sail onboard the RV Celtic Explorer 13th April 2012 to investigate biodiversity on the Whittard Canyon System. Whittard Canyon is a huge canyon system that spans Irish, UK and French waters along the Atlantic margin. This survey will take place in the Irish territory where the Continental shelf drops down to depths beyond 3000 m. The Marine Institute’s  Holland 1  Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) will be deployed to explore the steep canyon walls where biodiversity is greatest because of the fast currents there. Whittard has been explored before, but the system is so vast that some areas are still unsurveyed. The multidisciplinary team on board will be looking for corals and sponges, which can be found in extensive reefs at some depths.  A feature of species growing attached to the seafloor is the production of chemicals, thought to deter grazing and overgrowth by other animals.  There is significant scientific and commercial interest in the novelty of these chemicals for medical applications. Material previously collected for the Irish Marine Biodiscovery Programme has shown activity against some cancer cell lines, the first step in potentially developing new treatments. Material collected on this cruise will be examined in antibacterial and anti-cancer assays as part of the National Marine Biodiscovery Programme in NUI Galway, UCC and the Marine Institute. The survey will also carry out detailed surveys of the canyon system in collaboration with onboard taxonomists from across Europe, who are experts in identifying deep sea marine organisms. Biogeochemists from Trinity College Dublin will study the processing of material in the benthic ecosystem, with oceanographers from Galway following the transport of sediment and planktonic production to deeper waters. These studies will improve the understanding of the canyon ecosystem and the links between surface and deep waters. The scientists will be blogging throughout the survey and you can follow their progress at http://scientistsatsea.blogspot.com This research survey and the Beaufort Marine Research Award are carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013. The Beaufort award in Marine Biodiscovery is a consortium between NUI Galway, UCC and Queen’s University Belfast. The Ship-Time Programme provides access to the National Research Vessels (Celtic Explorer / Celtic Voyager) for research organisations based in Ireland. Ends.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

NUI Galway is delighted to announce the launch of an online Diploma in Italian. Organised by the Discipline of Italian Studies at NUI Galway this unique programme is the first of its kind in Ireland and will be begin in September 2012. The Diploma is specifically tailored to suit the requirements of students who need flexibility in their time and mode of study and are not available to attend lecturers on campus. The course concentrates on all four main language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and provides a gradual introduction to the structures and functions of the language. In addition, a module on oral and intercultural skills will introduce various aspects of Italian life from an intercultural perspective. Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Head of Italian, NUI Galway, said: “The online Diploma in Italian is a groundbreaking experience employing the latest skills in e-learning and will enable learners to study Italian in their own time, wherever they are, and as part of a community of e-learners.” Dr Laura McLoughlin, Applied Language Teacher with Italian Studies at NUI Galway, who coordinates the new initiative in collaboration with E-Learning expert, NUI Galway’s Dr Silvia Bernabei, said: “Unlike many distance learning programmes designed for independent learning, the diploma course is based on a collaborative, communicative approach and students are encouraged to participate in virtual class activities with their peers and e-tutors.” In order to facilitate interaction and create a supportive learning environment, face-to-face on campus sessions will take place as part of the course. A practical introductory session in the use of computers will also be given at the beginning of the course to ensure that all students have basic computer skills. The Diploma in Italian is open to everybody and is designed for those who have no previous knowledge of the language. Closing date for applications is Friday, 13 July and full details is available at www.nuigalway.ie/italian/onlinediploma.html. Further information is available from Dr Laura McLoughlin at 091 492240 or laura.mcloughlin@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-  

Monday, 16 April 2012

A crew of NUI Galway students and graduates are, for the first time ever, entering this year’s Round Ireland sailing race. The race is a 1400km non-stop circumnaviagtion of Ireland by sea. The NUI Galway crew, ten in total, is one of the youngest teams to ever compete in the event. The Round Ireland race is held every two years and considered one of Europe’s top offshore races.  This year, the start gun goes at 12:00 on Sunday, 24 June and the boats will finish from four to six days later, depending on weather conditions. The race begins and ends in Wicklow Bay. The NUI Galway crew is made up of students and graduates from various disciplines including engineering, science and commerce. Sailing together in the NUI Galway sailing club over the past few years has built up the trust and camaraderie which will be relied upon during the race. The team have chartered a 38-ft racing yacht for the race. Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: “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. Their determination and drive, especially given that they are one of the youngest crews is to be admired. We wish them fair winds and following seas.” One of the main aims of this project is to promote the home-grown sailing talent in Galway. Boat skipper, Cathal Clarke says: “The vision of this project is to prove the wealth of sailing talent here on the west coast and to encourage the next generation of Volvo Ocean Race sailors to get out there and get sailing. We aim to inspire other sailors from the region to undertake such projects in the future.” Cathal added: “A busy few months lie ahead for us, with training on and off the water, safety courses and coaching lined up. But the aims of this campaign are high, with a lot of experienced sailors on board, we will certainly be looking for good results.” Encouraging the students was Cillian McGovern, project manager of Green Dragon who says: "The camaraderie and team work displayed by this young team is to be admired. What an opportunity to freshen up the sailing circuit in Ireland.” ENDS

Monday, 16 April 2012

NUI Galway has announced details of an upcoming traditional music and dancing conference and festival. Based on the Rambling House, or cuairteoireacht, tradition in which neighbours used to gather at a local house for music, dancing and merriment, the event will take this weekend, 19-21 April. The international conference, entitled Mapping Spectral Traces V, and the festival, Dancing Days, will explore the connections between how we inhabit such everyday spaces and how the traces of the past have shaped and moulded the places in which we live today. Highlights of the weekend will be launched at 7pm Thursday, 19 April at the Black Box Theatre and will be followed by the world premiere of Galway Dancer-in-Residence, Ríonach Ní Néill’s FRAME, produced by Richard Wakely.  Irish and international dancers, visual artists, writers, musicians and academics will gather in Galway throughout the weekend of specially commissioned performances and academic sessions that are free and open to the public. There will also be a pop-up art exhibition in the Black Box Theatre and the launch of a new essay collection, Irish Contemporary Landscapes in Literature and the Arts, in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. Traditional artforms will include the Straw Boys, a house céilí and sean-nós dance, who will join traditional with contemporary, site-specific dance works, installations and artworks to create a night in which the audience members are vital players. The audience for the final event will be ferried from Galway city centre to a mystery location in Connemara by bus to experience a cuairteoireacht of the past but that is housed very much in the present moment. This particular event seeks to open up discussions as to how Ireland’s landscape changed from being the ‘céilí at the crossroads’ to the ‘chaos at the crossroads’ in recent years. Dr Nessa Cronin, Lecturer with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting line-up of free events and public lectures by Irish and international artists, dancers, musicians, architects and scholars who are all concerned with re-thinking how our lives are shaped by the spaces in which we live today. From an Irish perspective in particular, the construction and de-construction of places has been in the fore with discussions of NAMA and Ghost Estates in recent times, and issues such as these will be discussed over the course of the three days in Galway.” The event is organised by Dr Nessa Cronin and Tim Collins based at NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies, Dr Karen Till of NUI Maynooth, and Galway Dancer-in-Residence, Ríonach Ní Neill. Mapping Spectral Traces V is supported by the IRCHSS, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth and the Mapping Spectral Traces International Network. Dancing Days is supported by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, the Arts Council, Galway County and City Councils, and the Town Hall Theatre, Galway. Conference events at NUI Galway are free and open to the public, and tickets for Dancing Days are available from the Town Hall Theatre at www.tht.ie  and 091 569 777. For further information contact irishstudies@nuigalway.ie and www.nuigalway.ie/centre_irish_studies.   ENDS

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

NUI Galway has announced it will host the sixth Irish Human Computer Interaction (iHCI) Conference in June, 2012. The conference theme ‘Poetics of Design, Narratives of Use’will focus on the role that different artefacts, perspectives, methods and tools play in the design of new technologies. 2012 marks the sixth year of the iHCI conference, and the first time it will be hosted in the west of Ireland. The particular emphasis of this year’s conference will be to look at the broad range of methods used to design, implement and evaluate technology, and to share stories of the design, deployment and evaluation of computing in context. Keynote speaker will be Professor Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media, NUI Galway. Dr Tony Hall, School of Education and Programme Co-Chair iHCI 2012, said: “The iHCI Conference brings together researchers, technologists, academics, designers, artists and those with an interest in the development of technology for use by people. The conference invites submissions - papers, posters, demos and showcases – on a diverse array of technologies and topics ranging from mobile and smart telephony, and Cloud Computing and social networking, to wearable computers, novel sensors and computer-augmented educational, living and work environments. Dr Hall added: “In 2012, as we mark the sad passing of Steve Jobs, the da Vinci of the Digital Age, and celebrate Alan Turing Year, commemorating one of the pioneers of the modern computer, the conference promises to be an exciting event showcasing the design of personal and social technologies for today’s highly mediated and networked world.” iHCI 2012: ‘Poetics of Design, Narratives of Use’ will take place at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 20 and Thursday, 21 June. For further information please visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=180 ENDS

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

For the third consecutive year the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway has partnered with local businesses to provide students with the opportunity to learn real-life business through an 'Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise’(ICE) initiative. ICE is a module available to all final year students of Commerce and Business Information Systems programmes.  As part of their final year of studies, over 400 students are given the opportunity to innovate in all aspects of business and community enterprise with the support of 30 mentors from local business and community leaders.  The students engage in group-based projects requiring them to devise a unique enterprising idea.  Each of the mentors are assigned a project group and in turn required to advise the students with the development of each idea. Michael Campion, ICE Module Director at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics said: "The overall objective of the Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise course is to encourage self-confidence in students of business in their ability to be creative and innovative in whatever future business and/or community settings that they are working in." As a competitive part of the module, groups of students were required to present the innovation projects to mentors through a number of judging stages, resulting in the selection of five finalist groups who competed for a prize fund of €4,000, sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). The overall winners were Bruce Brady, Oranmore, Co. Galway; Gerard Harlow, Roscommon; Leszek Majewski, Galway and Kevin Moylan, Galway.  Their project 'On Time System’ – is a new mobile software application that alerts users to impending library fines. Commenting after the final, Norman Black of JFC Manufacturing and one of the final adjudicators, said:  “The calibre of presentations, research, innovation, entrepreneurial ability and presentation of business plans far exceeded my expectations.  Different teams excelled in presentations, market research, product concept and idea generation.  As a result it made the task of judging very difficult as there was so little to separate all of the finalists.” The Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise module is part of a wider initiative within the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, supported by funding from the NUI Galway Students Projects Fund, to focus on student personal development planning, and employability skill development. ENDS

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A new Youth Academy begins at NUI Galway this weekend, giving a taste of university life to high ability primary school children. The aim of the academy is to support the children’s learning and academic development by providing them with new learning opportunities. Some 60 local children will study every Saturday morning until June, with their interest and enthusiasm for learning being fostered through a variety of new subjects. Subject choices include Italian, Philosophy, Psychology, Environmental Studies and Climate Studies. Welcoming the initiative, Lorraine McIlrath, who heads up NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative, said: “The Youth Academy is an important development which allows us to welcome children and their families into the University and enhances links with local schools.” The Youth Academy aims to inspire entry into third-level by introducing children and their families to University life. The Youth Academy is a collaboration between NUI Galway’s Mary Dempsey, School of Engineering & Informatics, Dr Caroline Heary, School of Psychology, and Lorraine McIlrath, Community Knowledge Initiative, along with Dr Colm O’ Reilly, Centre for Talented Youth Ireland, DCU. The pilot project was successful in receiving funding from the Bright Ideas Initiative and was launched by the Vice-President for Performance and Innovation at NUI Galway, Professor Chris Curtin. -ends-

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Lifecourse Institute at NUI Galway will host a public lecture featuring community living guru Dr Michael Kendrick. Entitled “Living Real Lives in the Community - Innovation in Services for Persons with Disabilities and Lessons for Families and Older Persons”, the lecture will take place on Thursday, 19 April, at 7pm, in room AC201 on the Concourse, NUI Galway. Dr Kendrick has worked with individuals, families and organisations in the fields of disability, mental health and older people across the globe to develop models of leadership, innovation and change.  Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the School of Law, said: “We are very privileged to have Dr Kendrick come and speak at the University. He is globally regarded as a pioneer in the field of community living.” Registration is required for this free public lecture and can be done by contacting Elaine at info.cdlp@nuigalway.ie or 091 494270. The venue is accessible for wheelchair users but please give advance notice of further accessibility requirements. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

RTÉ news broadcaster Seán O’Rourke presented two awards to NUI Galway journalism graduates at the University today (Tuesday, 17 April) in the Huston School of Film and Digital Media. The Fifth Annual Donna Ferguson Memorial Award and the Connacht Tribune Medal were presented to the top achieving students in the MA Journalism class of 2011. Carla O’Brien received the Donna Ferguson Award for achieving the highest mark in the broadcasting module of the MA programme. The Connacht Tribune Medal was presented to Lisa Jackson who achieved the highest overall mark in the MA in Journalism at NUI Galway. Donna Ferguson was posthumously conferred with an MA in Journalism at NUI Galway, following her untimely death in a car accident in December 2006. The Donna Ferguson Memorial Award was initiated by her family and community in Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, and commemorates Donna’s achievements while she was a student on the journalism programme in 2006. The Connacht Tribune Medal is an important recognition of student achievement at NUI Galway from one of Ireland’s premier regional newspapers. Its award will have a special poignancy this year as the paper’s former editor, John Cunningham, who was closely involved with the University’s MA in Journalism, passed away just recently.Seán O’Rourke graduated from what was then UCG in 1977 with a BA in English, History and Legal Science. Seán was awarded the 2006 NUI Galway Alumni AIB Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts, and is the founding chairperson of the Alumni Association’s Dublin Club. Seán was also conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) in 2011 by NUI Galway.He first joined RTÉ in 1982 as presenter/reporter in Radio News features. He was Political correspondent with the Irish Press between 1984 and 1989, when he returned to RTÉ as Programme Editor/Presenter, working on the News at One, Morning Ireland and This Week. Since 1995, Seán has been presenter of the News at One. In 2003, Seán began presenting The Week in Politics, a weekly review of political events on RTÉ One. Carla O’Brien is a native of Caledon, Co. Tyrone, and is now presenting and reporting for RTÉ news2day – a news programme for younger viewers.  Carla graduated from the MA in Journalism with first class honours. Lisa Jackson is from Ballina, Co. Mayo and studied Law in NUI Galway from 2001 to 2004. She also graduated with first class honours from the MA in Journalism and now works as a publishing assistant with publishing house Liberties Press in Dublin. Commenting on the awards, Dr John Kenny, Acting Director of the MA in Journalism at NUI Galway, said: “At a time when journalism is rapidly transforming, these awards are a testimony to the commitment and energy our students can bring to the profession. Their achievements since graduating further underline how important new skills and training are in meeting the challenge of change.” Ends

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Health has launched the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey 2010. The HBSC is a cross-sectional study conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. The survey runs every four years and in 2010 there were 43 participating countries and regions. The 2010 Irish HBSC survey, carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway is the fourth round of data collection. The study aims to increase our understanding of young people’s health and well-being, health behaviours and their social context.   A total of 16,060 children aged 9-18 from 256 schools across Ireland participated in the survey. Overall, 67% of invited schools and 85% of invited children participated.   In welcoming the report, Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly stated: “While I am encouraged by the reduction in smoking, alcohol and drug use and a decrease in injuries among school going children, much remains to be done. I am, however, very concerned at the statistics around exercise and physical activity and the number of children who still remain hungry either going to school or going to bed at night. I will be in discussion with my colleague the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald in relation to further examination of this and actions requires to address same.”   Commenting on the findings, Dr Colette Kelly of the Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway, said: “This report brings some good news about the health behaviours of children in Ireland with a decrease in smoking and alcohol use for example. Yet still more needs to be done to improve their health, in particular around nutrition and physical activity. Importantly, the majority of children in Ireland report to having high life satisfaction and being happy, a fundamental aspect of childhood, that we need to ensure continues.”   Food and Dietary Behaviour   Food consumption Overall, 20% of children report that they consume fruit more than once a day (19% in 2006) and 20% report eating vegetables more than once a day (18% in 2006). The proportion of children who report eating sweets daily or more often (37% in 2010 vs. 39% in 2006), and who report soft drink consumption daily or more often (21% in 2010 vs. 26% in 2006) have decreased from 2006.   Food behaviours Reports of never having breakfast on weekdays have not changed from 2006 (13% in 2010 vs. 14% in 2006). Children were asked to report how often they go to school or to bed hungry because there was not enough food at home. Overall, 21% of children report ever going to school or to bed hungry, an increase from 2006 (17%).   Exercise and physical activity There has been little change in reported frequency of exercise, physical activity and inactivity in HBSC 2010. Overall 51% of children report exercising four or more times a week.   General Findings   General Health The proportion of children who report excellent health (33%), feeling very happy (50%) and high life satisfaction (76%) remains stable from HBSC 2006.   Sexual Behaviour Overall, 27% of 15-17 year olds report that they have ever had sex. Of those who report ever having had sex, 93% report using a condom the last time they had sex and 59% report that they had used the birth control pill.   Substance use Overall, there is a decrease from 2006 in reports of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use among school children in Ireland.   ENDS

Thursday, 19 April 2012

NUI Galway’s societies have been awarded four national awards at the Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Society Awards held recently in Enfield. Over 300 students from 17 third-level colleges from across Ireland came together to celebrate the achievements of students. Presentations were made to 16 award winners, from nine different categories. NUI Galway were awarded more prizes than any other college in attendance. The Feminist Society at NUI Galway was awarded the best Civic Contribution for their outstanding work in highlighting violence against women. The award for Best Society Individual was won by NUI Galway student, Lily McGarry from Whitechurch, Co. Dublin, for her dedication as conductor to the Choral society and her all round volunteering spirit. Lily this year has also won an NUI Galway Performance Bursary to attend a choral conducting summer school.   Best Society Fresher in Ireland went to Christopher Moran, a first year BA Connect Theatre and Performance student from Arklow, Co. Wicklow, for his contribution to NUI Galway’s Dramsoc, Musical Society and the Writers Society. Christopher has been involved in numerous productions during the year and was also very involved in promoting creative writing on campus. NUI Galway's final award of the evening was the Best Poster, which was presented to Dramsoc for their poster for the Hamlet production. The poster was designed by Matt Burke from Galway City. Since BICS was formed in 1999, NUI Galway has won more national society awards than any other college in Ireland and tops the leader board at 30 trophies. According to NUI Galway Societies Officer and BICS Executive member, Riona Hughes: “The two-day event was a major success and it was all about celebration. All of the societies who attended had achieved a very high standard in their own institutions and the judges were very impressed with all the nominees. The BICS Awards are the highlight of the Societies calendar and afford them a fantastic opportunity to network and share ideas, we expect great things from them all again next year.  The enthusiasm, talent, generosity and vision of all the students present augur well for the future of our country.” Full details of the BICS Awards is available at www.bics.ie ENDS

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Burren College of Art today (Wednesday, 18 April) reached a milestone in its development with the first conferring of a PhD in Studio Art by NUI Galway.  The recipient, Eileen Hutton, produced a body of work entitled ‘Being In the Land: A Sculptural Investigation of Ecology’ comprised of an exhibition of art work, supported by written material critically reviewing the field of enquiry and the process of the research project. The awarding of the first PhD in Studio Art at Burren College of Art is not only a significant achievement for the recipient Eileen Hutton, but also for the college itself.  The location of the college has been integral to the focus of Eileen’s work, investigating reciprocal relationships between artists and the natural environment.  Her sculptural collaborations with the blue tits and honeybees in the Burren has not only strengthened their natural habitats but has provided valuable insight into the positive ways environmental art can impact on its surroundings.  President of the Burren College of Art, Mary Hawkes Greene said: “We are delighted that the first PhD studies conducted at the College have focused so specifically and benefitted immeasurably from the Burren itself, the very reason for the college’s existence.  The conferring of this award by the NUI Galway, underlines the academic rigour pursued at the College and further strengthens the important ties between these two academic institutions.” The PhD in Studio Art is one example of the so-called “practice-based” doctorates that began to emerge in art schools and university art departments twenty years ago.  They began in the UK, where Burren College of Art’s Dean was a pioneer.  All PhD projects lead to the development of new knowledge or a significant contribution to understanding in a particular subject, resulting from a process of enquiry, and in the case of Art this is achieved through studio-based creative process.  The significance of these PhDs for the larger world of higher education is that they require artists to develop an explicit rationale for their creativity and thereby dispel the mystique that often surrounds creative process. This clarity about creativity can enable the transfer of knowledge from art to PhD students in other disciplines.  Burren College of Art now provides courses in “creative difference” to PhD students at NUI Galway in disciplines ranging from Biochemistry to Law and Mathematics, as well as to the Executive MBA of the University.  At Burren College of Art PhDs are examined on the basis of the exhibition of a body of art work, supported by written material critically reviewing the field of enquiry and the process of the research project. In this respect the Burren PhD differs from many UK PhDs in prioritising the art over the text, a model that is fast gaining ground acrossEurope. Also receiving their degrees from NUI Galway in today’s ceremony were Master of Fine Art students Angelalynn Dunlop, Arianna Garcia Fialdini and Haynes Goodsell, while Andrew Nielsen receives his Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art. ENDS

Friday, 20 April 2012

In a further drive to progress Ireland’s science research agenda, Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Séan Sherlock TD, has today announced Government funding of €12.3 million for early-career scientific researchers to carry out pioneering work in Ireland. Administered through the Government’s science agency, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the ‘Starting Investigator Research Grant’ (SIRG) programme will support a total of 22 researchers, with three of those based at NUI Galway. Each SIRG award also encompasses funding for a postgraduate student who will provide an additional layer of support and facilitation towards excellence. The three award winners from NUI Galway are: Dr Manus Biggs works with NUI Galway’s Network for Functional Biomaterials, which pioneers new technologies to deliver therapeutic genes and other biomolecules to target specific sites within the body. His research focuses on engineering neuroelectrodes for deep brain stimulation through biomimetic conducting polymers.   Dr Cindy Smith works with NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, which advances environmental, marine and energy research. Her research focuses on the molecular microbial ecology of ammonia oxidation in coastal bay sediments.   Dr Martin O’Halloran is a postdoctoral researcher and adjunct lecturer with Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway. His research work involves microwave imaging for the detection and classification of early-stage breast cancer.   Professor Terry Smith, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, praised the three award winners: “All three are strong examples of the innovative thinking our researchers are applying to science, to overcome real world scientific challenges. From tackling breast cancer with electronic engineering, to improving brain function using biomaterials, to better understanding our planet through by analyzing tiny microbes, Cindy, Manus and Martin are pushing the frontiers of science.”   Announcing the investment, Minister Sherlock said: “We are determined as a Government to ensure that the very best young scientific talent is given compelling reasons to either stay in Ireland or come from abroad and conduct research here. The SIRG Programme provides an opportunity for researchers at a pivotal juncture in their careers to propel themselves to the next level and realise their potential in their respective fields.”   The Minister added: ‘This round of SIRG awards marks the first co-funding arrangement with the international Marie Curie COFUND scheme, which aims to expand national research programmes and encourage greater transnational mobility. Such a partnership exemplifies the increasingly collaborative and international nature of research activity in Ireland today.”   Welcoming Minister Sherlock’s announcement, Dr Stephen Simpson, Director of Life Sciences at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The SIRG programme illustrates a strong and sustained commitment to nurturing the leading researchers of tomorrow. A dedicated ‘early intervention’ scheme such as this helps to pave the way for growing Irish-based, world-class research groups and progression towards commercialisation of ideas at a later stage in the researchers’ careers.” -ends-

Monday, 23 April 2012

Marine Biologist conservationist, media producer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Dr Tierney Thys, will speak at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute on Thursday, 26 April at 1 pm, as part of the US Embassy’s Science Programme.  After receiving her PhD studying fish biomechanics, Dr Thys became enthralled with the power of film to teach science and convey conservation messages, and spent more than ten years making films for National Geographic Television. Leading and serving as an expert on numerous expeditions around the world from Alaska to Antarctica, Bali to Baja, Taiwan to South Africa, she is also the Founder of the Adopt a Sunfish Project, dedicated to researching and conserving the giant ocean sunfishes. Dr Thys’ work has been featured in numerous documentaries by National Geographic, NHK, BBC and German Television. Professor Mark Johnson, Deputy Director of the Ryan Institute and Leader of the Institute’s Biodiversity and Bioresources Research Cluster, said: “In the context of the demands and pressures on marine ecosystems, understanding marine biodiversity is now more important than ever.  In fact, right at this moment several of the Ryan Institute’s marine scientists are in the North Atlantic on a research cruise to describe the ecosystems of the continental margin (200 – 4000m deep). We are seeking to balance the potential economic benefits of prospecting for new drugs with the need to conserve our natural resources. Dr Thys is a scientist and communicator, committed to understanding and conserving the marine environment. She was a part of the global network working on the Census of Marine Life and has carried out fascinating work on the mysterious ocean sunfish. To hear from her about her research and experiences is a great opportunity for anyone working in, or interested in, the marine environment.” Dr Thys will give a short talk on her work for the Global Census of Marine Life, with a particular focus on the modern technologies for tagging and tracking marine wildlife such as the giant ocean sunfish.  The talk will be followed by a Q&A session. All are welcome to this free event which will take place in the Martin Ryan Annex Lecture Theatre. For more information please contact sarah.knight@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 23 April 2012

Future career routes is the focus of a careers evening for Leaving Certificate students, parents and guardians, in the new Engineering Building at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 9 May at 6pm. On completion of the Bachelor of Arts, a high proportion of NUI Galway graduates choose to specialise in a variety of professions by a doing a one-year Masters degree. Many of the University’s Arts graduates have gone on to careers in areas such as Business, Journalism, Social Work, Computer Science, Education and Law. John Hannon, Head of the Career Development Centre at NUI Galway, said: “In the current economic environment, one of the key attractions of studying Arts is the opportunity for students to choose their own unique combination of subjects, allowing them build a foundation for their future career, without limiting themselves to a particular field. Students can choose to continue studying subjects they enjoyed at school and/or take on new subject areas such as psychology, archaeology or economics. This a great opportunity for students and parents to get a better understanding of the career options possible from different degree programmes and to hear directly from graduates who are working in different industries.” Leaving Certificate students studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) in secondary school would especially have an interest in the Engineering section of the career evening. The evening will include presentations from the Dean of Engineering and Informatics, Professor Gerry Lyons, who will explore opportunities for future NUI Galway Engineering students. Industry representatives will also be on hand to direct students on how a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) from NUI Galway is the qualification to get you that job post-graduation. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics, said: “Engineering affects almost everything we do in modern society. From the phones and automobiles we use to the medical devices and treatment methods we depend on and graduates with STEM qualifications are highly valued by employers across the world. A degree in Engineering or IT is a platform for career development in areas as diverse as Consulting, Management, Design, Creative Industries and Finance. It provides a professional recognised qualification and the flexibility to pursue many different career opportunities. This free event will give interested students an opportunity to learn about career opportunities in the field of engineering.” The career evening will feature a number of NUI Galway Arts and Engineering graduates giving an overview of their career path since graduating. They will also talk about how skills and knowledge gained in their degree programmes has benefited them in their careers. There will also be a Q&A session at the end of the evening and an opportunity to speak to staff and graduates on a one-to-one basis over refreshments. Visitors can just turn up on the night, arriving at the new Engineering Building for 6pm. There is no need to register in advance for this free event. For more information call 091 482814 or 495788. ENDS