STATEMENT FROM DR JIM BROWNE, PRESIDENT, NUI GALWAY ON THE PASSING OF COLM MURRAY

STATEMENT FROM DR JIM BROWNE, PRESIDENT, NUI GALWAY ON THE PASSING OF COLM MURRAY-image

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Noting the sad passing of Colm Murray, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: On behalf of his many friends at NUI Galway and on a personal level, I extend sincere condolences to his wife, Ann, his daughters, Kate and Patricia and his extended family. Colm was a great friend and supporter of NUI Galway. An Arts graduate (BA 1972) and an Alumni Award Winner for Sports Achievement and Leadership (2011), Colm was involved in a range of alumni events and activities. Over the years Colm participated in and hosted a range of alumni events in Dublin and in Galway – events which always attracted audiences who relished his enthusiasm and his story-telling flair. With the sporting world’s attention on Galway and Ballybrit this week, we remember with pride and genuine affection one of Ireland’s best-loved sports journalists. We note his passing with sadness and pay tribute to a graduate whose commitment to his alma mater was deeply-held and much valued. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal dílís. James J. Browne PhD, DSc, MRIA, C.EngUachtarán – President _______________________________________________________________________ Sean O'Rourke, Chair of NUI Galway Alumni Association Colm Murray was a proud graduate of NUI Galway, and often recalled his student days with affection and no little mirth. He studied in the faculty of Arts in the 1960s and 70s but in fact Colm was an Everyman, a lifelong student of the ways of the world. He brought a sense of curiosity and wonder to his assignments which informed and enlivened his broadcast journalism. In the RTE newsroom he was a brilliant NUJ official, defusing many an industrial relations row with a mixture of humour, guile and an uncanny sense of timing. Though he did not specialise in current affairs Colm was a close follower of political events and would give colleagues the benefit of sound observations on running stories and the players involved - usually sharp but never cruel. Colm had legions of friends and admirers and easily won the confidence of people. As a sports broadcaster he reported with knowledge, flair and enthusiasm from Ballybrit to Beijing. There's a certain timeliness that his passing comes during Galway Race Week where his services as a social ringmaster and tipster were greatly enjoyed if not always followed with success. Some years ago he encouraged people at a pre-Races brunch in the old quadrangle to follow his list of sure things. And then he cautioned hilariously: "But my final word in this great Aula Maxima where so many distinguished scholars have passed through the hallowed portals is: Caveat Punter" _______________________________________________________________________ An NUI Galway Dublin Alumni Group presentation COLM MURRAY, BA 1972, in conversation with Seán O'Rourke BA 1977 took place in the AVIVA STADIUM on Thursday 16 June, 2011. First broadcast by RTÉ on 2 January 2012 was re-broadcasted Tuesday 30 July 2013. Please click on following link to hear interview. http://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=9%3A3156768%3A9153%3A02%2D01%2D2012%3A  

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Dramatic Turn for NUI Galway Professor

Dramatic Turn for NUI Galway Professor-image

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

NUI Galway has appointed Professor Patrick Lonergan as its first ever Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies. Professor Lonergan’s appointment strengthens NUI Galway’s reputation as a national hub for the study of theatre. His focus will be on developing new courses, building new research resources, and partnering with theatre companies. Speaking upon his appointment Professor Lonergan stated that “It is a great honour to have been named NUI Galway’s first Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies. I look forward to working with colleagues in the University and the wider community, as we develop new courses, forge new partnerships with theatre-makers, and make sure that NUI Galway is recognised as a world leading centre for the study of Irish theatre.” NUI Galway offers a very successful BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance, as well as a Performing Arts degree, and a new part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies is currently enrolling for September 2013. As part of its educational offering, the University this year again partnered with the Galway Arts Festival. One element of the partnership was to offer six NUI Galway students the opportunity to be part of the SELECTED programme. This unique internship with an all-areas backstage pass to the festival gave the students an intensive two-week immersion in festival organisation. The selected students attended shows, liaised with performers and directors, and also had the privileged access to visiting international Festival Directors. NUI Galway also maintains a partnership with Druid Theatre – which saw the University act as one of the co-producers of the multi-award winning DruidMurphy show last year. That partnership is growing all the time, with members of Druid running workshops for students, in acting, directing, set design and theatre marketing, among other things. NUI Galway will also be transforming our knowledge of Irish theatre through projects like the digitisation of the archive of the Abbey Theatre. When added to the University’s already extensive theatre archives, this resource will provide access to hundreds of scripts and videos of Irish plays – much of it never seen before. Speaking about these developments, Professor Lonergan commented: “We have achieved an enormous amount in the area of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway already. Our aim now is to build on those achievements, so that students and researchers from Ireland and abroad will recognise that NUI Galway is the best place in the world to study Irish drama.” Patrick Lonergan was born in Dublin in 1974, and graduated from University College Dublin with an MA in 1998. He completed a PhD at NUI Galway in 2004, and has been a member of staff in the Discipline of English since that time. He has written widely about Irish theatre for publications such as The Irish Times and Irish Theatre Magazine. His first book, Theatre and Globalization: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger won the 2008 Theatre Book Prize, a prestigious international award whose previous winners include the Guardian critic Michael Billington, the theatre director Peter Brook, and Columbia University Professor James Shapiro. More recently he has published The Theatre and Films of Martin McDonagh with Bloomsbury in London. He is also very active in the Irish theatre community. He runs the annual JM Synge Summer School in County Wicklow, is a former Theatre Assessor for the Irish Arts Council, and is a Board Member of Irish Theatre Magazine and Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. He has won several research awards, and is currently completing a project on Theatre Performance and Globalization, which is being funded by the Irish Research Council. He serves on the boards of several major international journals (including Contemporary Theatre Review and Irish University Review), is a Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures, and is active in many other international organizations. ENDS

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June 2013

Research Highlights Stress Levels among Parents of Children with Autism

Research Highlights Stress Levels among Parents of Children with Autism-image

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Levels of stress among parents of children with autism are higher when those families have less access to services. Preliminary data from a study by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) indicates cutbacks in services are having a real and measureable effect on parents’ wellbeing. “Our research is highlighting the negative impacts that cutbacks and inadequate service provision may have, not only on child outcomes, but also on the health and wellbeing of the parents,” says Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of ICAN at NUI Galway. A group of 140 mothers, fathers and a control group of caregivers of typically-developing children were included in the study. The research, conducted by PhD student Ciara Foody under the supervision of Dr Geraldine Leader and Professor Jack James, will be presented at a conference in NUI Galway from 11-12 June. This research investigated stress among parents by using diaries, questionnaires, 24 hour blood pressure monitoring and also conducted an analysis of the stress hormone cortisol. “We looked for the physical flags of stress, such as high blood pressure”, explains Dr Leader. “Perhaps none too surprisingly, parents of children of autism experience elevated levels of stress compared to parents of typically developing children. However, we were also able to show a correlation between increased stress among parents of children with autism who have less access to services and interventions.” Preliminary results demonstrate that unmet services needs were a significant factor.  Having a child with a greater number of service needs that were not being met (speech and language therapy, respite services, etc.) was associated with higher maternal blood pressure and higher parental reports of depressive symptoms and parenting stress.  The study also shows that sleep is also found to be an important factor. Child sleep problems and parental sleep quality were associated with maternal blood pressure, parenting stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms. The conference from 11-12 June, Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Research to Practice, will feature keynote talks, as well as workshops aimed at providing parents, practitioners, teachers and researchers, with the latest evidence-based approaches to diagnosis, clinical management and adult service provision. The event is being organised by ICAN in collaboration with the US science and advocacy group Autism Speaks, and runs from 11-12 June. For more information visit www.conference.ie -ends-

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Chairperson of the new Child and Family Agency to deliver keynote address at UNESCO Research Centre Conference

Chairperson of the new Child and Family Agency to deliver keynote address at UNESCO Research Centre Conference-image

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway will host its 6th Biennial Family Support conference on 13-14 June. Entitled ‘Engagement and Participation in Family Support’, the conference will contextualise trends, challenges and options relating to citizens’ engagement and participation in the field of Family Support. The forum will highlight the relevance of citizenship to Family Support and the role of services, communities and individuals in service delivery and systems reform. Alongside presentations from keynote speakers including Norah Gibbons of the new Child and Family Agency, delegates will hear from special guest Kenneth Egan, Ireland’s most decorated amateur boxer. Kenneth will speak on the commitment and dedication required to excel in sport and how the support he received from family, friends and others helped him to deal with the challenges and difficulties he encountered. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair at the Child and Family Research Centre in NUI Galway, commented: “This conference is an opportunity to explore not just the role of state services, but also of individuals and communities in supporting families both in terms of safety and welfare. The recent scandal regarding early years services including creche facilities highlights that social workers alone and regulation systems do not have the capacity to protect children at risk and that more innovative models of community care and involvement are urgently required. There is a need to develop systems whereby families and citizens can play their part in safeguarding children.” The conference is hosted as part of the ‘Five Nations Family Support Initiative’ in conjunction with representatives from across the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and UNESCO, Paris. The aim of this new initiative is to collectively discuss and advance Family Support policy and practice issues which will be progressed and developed on an international stage. Other speakers will include: Professor Constance Flanagan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. The Political Theories of Adolescents: How they Matter for Democracy Professor Anne Power, the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. Learning from the Horse’s Mouth: What Families Bringing up Children in Difficult Urban Areas Say about their Role and Influence Andy Lloyd, Head of Service – Workforce Development, Children’s Services, Leeds City Council, UK. Defending and Developing Family Support in an Age of Austerity Dr Bernadine Brady and Dr Carmel Devaney, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway. Changing the Odds: the Benefits and Challenges of Volunteer-Led Service Provision Professor Mark Brennan, Pennsylvania State University, USA. Citizenship as a Mechanism for Individual, Family, and Community Support Dr John Canavan, Associate Director, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway will deliver the closing remarks. For further information, or to register for the conference, visit www.conference.ie -ends-

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Older Volunteers Needed to Combine Exercise of Mind and Body for Research

Older Volunteers Needed to Combine Exercise of Mind and Body for Research-image

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Older people are being sought by NUI Galway researchers to participate in a new study which keeps the mind active while exercising. Volunteers are invited to spend 20 minutes on a cyber-cycle, which combines a traditional exercise bike with an interactive video game. Participants can compete with other riders, or enjoy the scenery along a virtual bike path through a woodland setting or the cityscapes of Paris. Dr Cay Anderson-Hanley, a Fulbright scholar from the United States, is collaborating with Dr Michael Hogan, Lecturer in Psychology, at NUI Galway on the project. “Most of us are already aware of the physical benefits of exercise: it can help control weight, combat illness, improve certain health conditions, and increase energy”, explains Dr Anderson-Hanley. “Recently, significant strides have been made in research examining the cognitive benefits of physical exercise. Such research has taken on new urgency given the changing demographics of our society, with longevity increasing around the world, and dementias such as Alzheimer’s on the rise.” In her previous research, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dr Anderson-Hanley incorporated ‘exergames’ into the experimental design of a long-term exercise intervention at Union College in New York. Her study found that the older adults who engaged in exergaming yielded better results for the participants than an equivalent dose of traditional exercise. “We focused on this kind of ‘exergaming’, where mental and physical exercise are interwoven”, says Dr Anderson-Hanley. Our results showed added cognitive benefit in some, while for others it prevented further decline. We are now looking to test this theory on a selection of older adults in Ireland.” For the NUI Galway study, participants’ cognitive status will be evaluated before and after the exercise session, using brief pen and paper measures and computer tasks. Brain functions will also be measured with electroencephalography (EEG) where electrical activity across the scalp is detected with sensitive electrodes worn as a special cap. Ideally, the research team would like to hear from volunteers aged 65 and over, with up to 40 volunteers needed in total. Those interested should contact Julia Dimitrova at the Aerobic and Cognitive Exercise Study lab (ACES) in NUI Galway on 091-494069 or email ACEStudyIreland@gmail.com -ends-

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Clinical Study Design for Medical Devices Focus of NUI Galway Symposium

Clinical Study Design for Medical Devices Focus of NUI Galway Symposium-image

Thursday, 6 June 2013

NUI Galway will host a symposiumon ‘Innovative Clinical Study Design for Medical Devices’ on Wednesday, 12 June in Áras Moyola. Organised by the Biostatistics Unit at the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway (HRB CRFG), Ignite Technology Transfer Office and Metric Ireland, the symposium will be of interest to industry, clinicians and the biomedical research community. Keynote speaker for the symposium will be Dr Gregory Campbell, who will address the audience on innovation in clinical study design, new guidance documents recently developed in the FDA and more. Dr Campbell is Director of Biostatistics Division in the Office of Surveillance and Biometrics within the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) at the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). He currently leads a group of over 55 statisticians at the FDA, which provides statistical support to CDRH as a whole and, in particular, the statistical reviews of FDA’s pre-market device submissions.    Dr John Newell, Head of the Biostatistics Unit at NUI Galway, said: “Dr Campbell leads a group of statisticians who research innovative methods to address the challenges in the evaluation of medical devices. We in the Biostatistics Unit are looking forward to interacting with Dr Campbell and learning how we can participate in advancing this field.” Dr Sandra Ganly of Metric Ireland said: “The US Med Device market is the key market for all medical device companies, with the market expected to grow to $151 billion in 2015. Having an opportunity to understand the regulatory issues at play from Dr Campbell will provide the Irish-based companies which Metric Ireland assists, the ability to gain more timely, cost-effective regulatory approvals for their products and an opportunity to gain a foothold in this growing market.” Other speakers will include NUI Galway’s Professor Martin O'Donnell, who will introduce the HRB CRFG and give an overview of capabilities and the facility's offering to industry; and John O'Dea of Crosspon, who will discuss the medical device cluster in Ireland, the success of the cluster and some of the challenges from a clinical trial design and execution perspective. The symposium will conclude with a panel discussion, where speakers will be joined by additional industry and clinical experts, and the delegates will get an opportunity to put forward their own questions to the experts. Dr Jacinta Thornton, Acting Director of Ignite Technology Transfer Office (TTO), said: “This is a unique opportunity to access key opinion and guidance and is an event not to be missed if you are operating in the clinical and pre-clinical space in this sector. From our perspective at Ignite TTO, we are very much looking forward to learning from Dr Gregory Campbell and gaining the insights that will assist early stage companies in navigating the regulatory hurdles inherent with delivering their products to market.” For further information on the symposium visit www.conference.ie. -ENDS-

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International Criminal Court Summer School at NUI Galway

International Criminal Court Summer School at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway is now accepting delegates for its 2013 summer school on the International Criminal Court to be held 17-21 June in Galway. The summer school on the International Criminal Court (ICC) offered by the Centre is widely acknowledged to be the premier programme of its kind, attracting participants from around the world. During the five days of intensive lectures, delivered by leading specialist in the field, students are provided with a detailed working knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and its operations. Lectures also speak to related issues in international criminal law, including universal jurisdiction, immunities and the role of the victims. Professor Ray Murphy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway said: “The ICC is arguably the most important international institution to have been established since the creation of the United Nations. Its aim is combating impunity for atrocities, and it is at the forefront of a broader movement for achieving accountability and justice around the world.” “When the ICC was established in 2002, there was real optimism about holding those most responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes to account. Over ten years later, the Court is being criticised for having a racist agenda and a flawed investigation process and prosecutorial strategy. To date, the Court has convicted only one defendant, a former Congolese warlord, Thomas Lubanga. The appointment of a new prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, places the Court at a critical crossroads in terms of investigations and prosecutions for the future”, continued Professor Murphy. During the summer school on the International Criminal Court, expert presentations will be delivered by Professor William Schabas, Honorary Chairman of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights and Middlesex University; Professor Siobhan Mullally, UCC; Dr Noelle Higgins and Professor Ray Murphy, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway; John McManus, Counsel/Avocat, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section, Department of Justice, Canada; Dr Fabrizio Guariglia, Head of Appeals Division of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court; Dr Mohamed M. El Zeidy, Legal Officer for Pre-Trial Chamber II, The International Criminal Court; Dr Rod Rastan, Legal Adviser in the Office of the Prosecutor, The International Criminal Court; Professor Don Ferencz, School of Law, Middlesex University; Dr Mohamed Elewa Badar, University of Middlesex; Professor Megan Fairlie, Florida International University; and Dr Mohamed Elewa Badar, School of Law, Brunel University. To register, visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=16 or email iccsummerschool@gmail.com for more information. -ENDS-

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Leading Developmental Speech and Language Impairments Researcher Visits NUI Galway

Leading Developmental Speech and Language Impairments Researcher Visits NUI Galway -image

Monday, 10 June 2013

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Speech and Language Therapy teaching at NUI Galway, the University will hold a one-day seminar on Evidence Based Practice on Friday, 14 June. Entitled ‘Evidence-Based Practice: Bercow and back again - practice, policy and its implications for children with speech and language and communication needs (SLCN)’, the seminar will focus on the findings of the Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP), the largest practice related research programme ever funded for children with SLCN. Keynote speaker, Professor James Law, Professor of Speech and Language Science at the University of Newcastle, England will discuss the outcomes of this large research programme, as well as ways in which practitioners can incorporate evidence-based practice into the services they provide. He has had a distinguished career in research on developmental language and communication impairments. He is an editor on the Cochrane Collaboration Developmental, Psychosocial and Behaviour Problems Group and carried out the first Cochrane review of intervention for children with primary speech and language delays/disorders in 2003. Professor Law is one of the key researchers in a large scale research project in the UK, the BCRP. This research was commissioned in response to the Bercow Review, which was a review of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. The BCRP was designed as a rigorous research programme that would be useful for practitioners, researchers, policy makers, as well as parents and young people with communication impairments. The BCRP comprised 10 major research projects including the evidence base for current practice including indicative costs, and the perspectives of parents and children regarding the services they use and the outcomes they value. Rena Lyons, Head of the Discipline of Speech and Language Therapy, said: “We are honoured and delighted to have Professor Law in NUI Galway. Sometimes there is a challenge linking research with practice. Clinicians need to access research findings to inform their practice. This seminar will be very useful for clinicians as they will hear first-hand about the results of this large scale research project.”    For further information on the seminar visit www.conference.ie or contact Rena Lyons at rena.lyons@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

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Supporting Environmental Regulation with Information and Communications Technology

Supporting Environmental Regulation with Information and Communications Technology -image

Monday, 10 June 2013

Information and communications technology can be used to support environmental regulation in many ways, and, will be the subject of an international exploratory workshop on 20-21 June. The workshop, ‘Information and Communications Technology for Environmental Regulation: Developing a Research Agenda’, will address areas such as: real-time monitoring of air pollution through sensors; large-scale databases of geographical information on the health of rivers, lakes and beaches; satellite-based monitoring of farming patterns; and the provision of information on industrial pollution to the public through government websites. Environmental regulators are increasingly making use of this information and communications technology (ICT) for environmental regulation. In the US, the Obama administration has been particularly proactive in encouraging their Environmental Protection Agency to open its electronic systems to the public. “The Irish EPA is a leader in this field,” explains Rónán Kennedy, a lecturer at NUI Galway’s School of Law, who is the driving force behind the event. “The online resource, GeoPortal, makes data available to the ordinary citizen. The EPA also uses specialised systems for environmental data exchange with local authorities, licensing applications and a register of pollutant releases and transfers. Another striking Irish example is Friends of the Irish Environment using aerial photography of peat bogs in order to highlight the large-scale cutting of turf.” The event will bring international experts from three continents together, and, delegates will be experts in law, the physical and social sciences, information systems and web science. Speakers include academics, staff from non-governmental agencies and personnel from regulatory agencies. According to Dr Martina Prendergast, Strategic Development Manager of the Ryan Institute who is co-hosting the event, “Irish researchers have been very successful to date in winning competitive funding from the EU 7th Framework Programme in the area of ICT. In fact, this area has secured more funding than other areas such as Environment, Energy, Transport, Health, and Nanosciences. I’m confident that with the calibre of researchers here at NUI Galway, we can build on the European successes to date and link up ICT expertise with that of the world-class environmental research that is happening right here in Ireland. If we get our act together and plan events like this, then we can and will be even more competitive in the Horizon 2020 programme. We must remember that there will be a budget of close to €70 billion for research, innovation and science.”     Rónán Kennedy explains the key role that information plays in the regulatory process: “Environmental monitoring on a global and up-to-the-minute scale is rapidly becoming possible, and this can be combined with geographical information and opened to the public. Nonetheless, the use of ICT for environmental regulation is not simply a matter of the increased use of computer technology or putting pollution data on the web.” The existing arrangements between government agencies, business and other stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations may hinder efforts to incorporate new information into the regulatory process. Firms will often have essential information but be unwilling to share it, They may claim intellectual property rights as a barrier to public access to information on the environment. Modelling, particularly of large, complex and dynamic systems such as global climate, does not always lead to accurate predictions. “We need a better understanding of the regulatory process, environmental problems and the social and economic consequences of making information available and processes more interactive. While optimistic claims are made for the potential of ICT, the reality is somewhat more complex. It can play a significant role in improving the application, efficiency and effectiveness of government regulation. Our experience with the Internet shows the deployment of information technology often has unintended effects”, continued Rónán Kennedy. This workshop is funded by NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research, the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, and the Irish Research Council. More information is available at http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=205 -ENDS-

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International Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders at NUI Galway

International Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders at NUI Galway         -image

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Today at NUI Galway the 2nd International Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders will commence. The two-day conference will focus on the state of autism research in Ireland and internationally and plans will be presented to parents and professionals for the new Irish Autism Database and Repository (IADR) Project. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social behaviours and communication, and a restricted range of activities. Autism symptoms vary by person and can range from mild to severe. Some have normal intellectual and language abilities, whereas others are cognitively impaired and require lifeā€long care. While most countries, including Ireland, lack an official prevalence estimate, available data suggest approximately 1% of the global population is affected by autism. The development of an autism specific database targeted at the health, educational and long-term needs of the Irish autism community is a vital resource to inform service planning and delivery and will support a range of research questions. The IADR project, to be led by the Irish Centre for Autism and Neuordevelopmental Research, Institute for Regenerative Medicine (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, Centre for Autism and Related Disorders, Trinity College Dublin and US based science and advocacy group, Autism Speaks, will provide data to address a range of questions relating to the health, social and educational needs of individuals affected by autism and their families and carers. This will be a valuable resource illustrating the extent to which people with autism are impacted and provide valuable data to support service planning and development. This announcement marks the start of a six month consultation process with parents and is based on existing database models currently in operation in both Scandinavia and the US through Autism Speaks. The proposed Irish Autism Database and Repository (IADR) will house comprehensive and detailed information, as well as related biomaterials for individuals living with autism in Ireland.  IADR proposes to serve as an open national resource to enhance the care and quality of life of the Irish autism community by facilitating and supporting rigorous and high impact scientific research. Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research at NUI Galway:  “Given the increasing prevalence of autism suggests that we urgently need to invest in optimising research efforts by enhancing research infrastructure and emphasizing collaborations among scientists, service providers, policy-makers and the autism community.  IADR will be transformative in accelerating the pace of autism research, by providing large datasets which can be shared among researchers and ultimately will aid the discovery of causes and the most effective treatments for autism.” Commenting on the announcement, Dr Andy Shih, PhD, of Autism Speaks:  “Autism Speaks is delighted to collaborate with the Irish autism community, including NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin, on the new autism database and repository initiative. We encourage individuals, parents, practitioners and all stakeholders in Ireland’s autism community to get involved with this initiative, so that the database that results will uniquely serve their needs in addition to being an incredible resource for research purposes.” Adrian Jones, Irish-American member of the board of Autism Speaks and parent to a child with autism: “This annual conference provides a great opportunity for parents of children with autism in Ireland to come together and meet others who face the same day-to-day challenges and triumphs. The fact that both practitioners and policy-makers in Ireland are choosing to work so closely with parents on new initiatives such as IADR is a fundamental step in the right direction.” With estimates that one in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder in the US, the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway, in collaboration with Autism Speaks, is making parents a particular focus of this the 2nd International Autism Conference. The event ‘Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Research to Practice’ will feature keynote talks as well as workshops aimed at providing parents, practitioners, teachers, and researchers, with the latest evidence-based approaches to diagnosis, clinical management and adult service provision. The conference will place special emphasis on providing practical solutions for parents struggling with autism on a daily basis. Workshops will be delivered on managing behaviour in the home, sleep, toileting, interventions for non-verbal, minimally verbal and verbal children and how to manage transitions effectively. “Autism has become a national epidemic. This conference will bring the world’s leading experts in diagnosis, clinical management and education to NUI Galway as well as address the practical concerns and needs of parents,” said Dr Leader. “International evidence indicates an alarming rise in the prevalence of autism, as reflected in the recent data from the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which estimates that one in 88 children, including one in 54 boys, has an ASD.” Expert speakers at the conference include: Professor Deborah Fein from the University of Connecticut, who will discuss what determines best outcomes for children on the autism spectrum, while Professor Richard Hastings from Bangor University will discuss what the research is telling us in relation to effective autism interventions. Professor Peter Gerhardt from the McCarton School, New York will speak on issues relating to employment, quality of life and inclusion for adults on the autism spectrum; and Professor Susan Swedo, of the National Institute of Mental Health in the US, will update delegates on the latest changes to the diagnostic categorisations of autism. To view the full conference programme please see http://www.conference.ie.   ENDS

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