Monday, 16 January 2012

NUI Galway has announced details of new scholarships scheme for mature students. In total, 30 new scholarships will be awarded, consisting of €2,000 per student for every year of their study. The new initiative is open to mature applicants, 23 years and over, applying through the CAO by 1 February, and commencing study in autumn 2012. Scholarships will be awarded based on merit, and those interested should apply as normal through the CAO process. The top 30 applicants will be automatically selected for a scholarship and notified before September 2012. The 30 scholarships will be allocated across three areas: Entrants via the Mature Student’s AdmissionsPathway (MSAP). Entrants via the Access Foundation programmes. Entrants who are mature (23 years of age at 1 January of year of entry), who are entitled to enter the programme to which they are admitted from School Leaving results. There are some limitations on who will qualify for possible selection, for example, students with a Local Authority Higher Education grant or similar awards will not be eligible for the scholarship. Interested students should visit the NUI Galway website for further detail about the scholarships and for information about the general mature student application process.Dr Martina Ní Chúlain, Admissions Officer at NUI Galway, explains: “The new Scholarships for Mature Students are an incentive to attract more of the brightest and most committed students, and to support their return to full-time education. Mature students bring so much to the campus and to their classmates, and we hope to offer the scholarship as a support in making the transition into third-level education easier.”Mature students make up a significant part of the student population at NUI Galway, with over 1,200 full-time mature students across all schools and disciplines.For more information on studying at NUI Galway as a mature student visit www.nuigalway.ie/mature/scholarships or phone 091 492 695. -ends-

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

An exciting new four-year degree programme has been officially launched by NUI Galway. The BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies is designed for students with a keen interest in all aspects of drama and performance. It is a world-class programme, providing a unique opportunity to study drama, theatre and performance from a practical, theoretical and historical perspective. Students will benefit from the dynamic partnerships forged by NUI Galway with key arts organisations including Druid Theatre Company, the Galway Arts Festival and Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe. Also, throughout the year, the campus is a hot-bed for drama productions and related performance events. NUI Galway has an annual week-long theatre festival and regular performances by the popular DramSoc take place in theatres on campus, as well as in Galway’s Druid Theatre, and Black Box. Students also perform at the Galway’s Town Hall Theatre, which was recently named Ireland’s best theatre venue in the annual ERIC awards, and stages exciting productions throughout the year. Teaching on the programme will take a variety of forms, from lectures and seminars to practical workshops, performances and internships. One of the most innovative features of the programme is its emphasis on putting learning into practice, through seminars in acting and directing, through workshops with professional theatre companies, and through the option of internships with arts organisations and professional placements in third-year. “Our students benefit from the University’s unique combination of groundbreaking academic expertise, professional practice and access to some of Ireland’s leading artists. This new course is a wonderful opportunity for students to explore all aspects of performance from theatre to film, storytelling and new media”, commented the programme director, NUI Galway’s Patrick Lonergan.” “With its fine tradition of student drama, its location in the West of Ireland and its proximity to the Gaeltacht, NUI Galway provides an ideal location for the study of Ireland’s diverse range of performance traditions - from the many innovative theatre companies of Galway city to séan nós singing, storytelling and dance traditions. Our programme builds on this diversity and aims to show that theatre takes a variety of forms - all of which expand our conception of what is possible in the world,” said Dr Lionel Pilkington, Head of the School of Humanities at NUI Galway. Often referred to as Ireland’s cultural capital, Galway has a renowned reputation as an international centre for innovative drama, theatre and performance. The city has seen the establishment of several flourishing theatre companies whose founder members were students of the University. Among the most illustrious of our graduates are the three Druid Theatre Company founding members, Tony-Award-winning Director, Garry Hynes and the actors Marie Mullen and the late Mick Lally. Garry Hynes has commented on the new course, saying: “Just as I, informally, took my first steps in the theatre in NUI Galway, I am now, through this programme looking forward to helping the emergence of the next generation of theatre makers from my alma mater.” Recent graduates have gone on to achieve success with many leading theatres in Ireland and in London, joining such schemes as the Abbey Theatre’s New Playwrights’ Programme and the Rough Magic SEEDS project. In the last two years alone, NUI Galway graduates have won such awards as the PJ O’Connor Prize (RTÉ) and the JMK Trust award for finding Britain’s finest theatre directors. The first intake of students for the new BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies will be in September 2012. Applications will be accepted via the CAO process, on which the new course code is GY118.  -ends-         ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                                                        Leagan Gaeilge   Drámaíocht, Amharclannaíocht agus Taibhiú i lár an stáitse ar Chlár Nua Céime Sheol OÉ Gaillimh clár nua spéisiúil céime ceithre bliana. Tá an chéim BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies leagtha amach do mhic léinn a bhfuil spéis ar leith acu i ngach gné den drámaíocht agus den taibhiú. Is clár den chéad scoth é, a chuireann deis uathúil ar fáil do mhic léinn staidéar a dhéanamh ar an drámaíocht, ar an amharclannaíocht agus ar an taibhiú ó pheirspictíocht phraiticiúil, theoiriciúil agus stairiúil. Bainfidh mic léinn tairbhe as na comhpháirtíochtaí dinimiciúla atá cruthaithe ag OÉ Gaillimh le príomheagraíochtaí ealaíon amhail Compántas Druid, Féile Ealaíon na Gaillimhe agus Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe. Ina theannta sin, is iomaí léiriú drámaíochta agus imeacht eile a bhíonn ar siúl ar an gcampas i rith na bliana. Bíonn féile bhliantúil a ritheann ar feadh seachtaine ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh agus, chomh maith leis sin, bíonn léirithe rialta ar siúl ag an DramaSoc sna hamharclanna ar an gcampas, in Amharclann an Druid agus sa Dubhlann. Bíonn mic léinn ar an stáitse chomh maith in Amharclann na Cathrach i nGaillimh, áit a ainmníodh le deireanas mar an t-ionad amharclainne is fearr in Éirinn ag na gradaim bhliantúla ERIC. Bíonn léirithe thar a bheith spéisiúil ar siúl san Amharclann seo ar feadh na bliana. Beidh cineálacha éagsúla teagaisc ar siúl ar an gclár, léachtaí agus seimineáir, ceardlanna praiticiúla, léirithe agus intéirneachtaí san áireamh. Ar cheann de na gnéithe is nuálaí a bhaineann leis an gclár tá an bhéim a chuirtear ar an bhfoghlaim phraiticiúil, trí sheimineáir san aisteoireacht agus sa stiúradh, trí cheardlanna le comhlachtaí gairmiúla amharclannaíochta, agus trí intéirneachtaí le heagraíochtaí ealaíon agus socrúcháin oibre proifisiúnta sa tríú bliain. “Baineann ár gcuid mac léinn tairbhe as an meascán uathúil atá san Ollscoil maidir le saineolas ceannródaíoch acadúil, cleachtas gairmiúil agus rochtain ar chuid de phríomhealaíontóirí na hÉireann. Is iontach an deis é an cúrsa nua seo do mhic léinn féachaint ar gach gné de léiriú ó amharclannaíocht go scannán, scéalaíocht go meán nua,” a deir stiúrthóir an chláir, Patrick Lonergan. “In OÉ Gaillimh, tá traidisiún láidir drámaíochta i measc na mac léinn, táimid suite in Iarthar na hÉireann agus muid an-ghar don Ghaeltacht, agus mar gheall air seo ar fad is iontach an áit í OÉ Gaillimh le staidéar a dhéanamh ar thraidisiúin éagsúla taibhithe na hÉireann – ó na comhlachtaí nuálaíocha amharclannaíochta i gcathair na Gaillimhe agus an traidisiún a bhaineann le hamhránaíocht ar an sean-nós, scéalaíocht agus damhsa. Tógann an clár seo ar an éagsúlacht sin agus é mar aidhm leis a léiriú gur iomaí taobh a bhaineann leis an amharclannaíocht – agus go gcuireann siad ar fad leis an íomhá atá againn maidir le céard is féidir a bhaint amach sa saol,” a dúirt an Dr Lionel Pilkingtom, Ceann Scoil na nDaonnachtaí in OÉ Gaillimh. Tugtar príomhchathair chultúir na hÉireann ar Ghaillimh go minic agus tá cáil ar an gcathair mar ionad idirnáisiúnta do dhrámaíocht, d’amharclannaíocht agus do thaibhiú nuálaíoch. Bunaíodh roinnt compántas drámaíochta sa chathair agus ba mhic léinn san Ollscoil a bhunaigh iad. I measc na gcéimithe is clúití atá againn tá an triúr a bhunaigh Compántas Druid, Garry Hynes, Stiúrthóir a bhuaigh gradam Tony, agus na haisteoirí Marie Mullen agus Mick Lally atá imithe ar shlí na Fírinne. Labhair Garry Hynes faoin gcúrsa nua, a rá: “Díreach mar a thóg mise mo chéad chéimeanna, go neamhfhoirmiúil, san amharclannaíocht in OÉ Gaillimh, tá mé ag súil go mór anois le cabhrú leis an gcéad ghlúin eile teacht chun cinn ó mo alma mater tríd an gclár seo.” Tá céimithe imithe ar aghaidh ag baint a gcáil amach in amharclanna clúiteacha in Éirinn agus i Londain, ag glacadh páirte i scéimeanna cosúil le Clár nua Drámadóirí Amharclann na Mainistreach agus tionscadal SEEDS de chuid Rough Magic. Le dhá bhliain anuas, tá céimithe de chuid OÉ Gaillimh tar éis gradaim ar nós Duais PJ O’Connor (RTÉ) a bhaint chomh maith le gradam an JMK Trust do na stiúrthóirí amharclainne is fearr sa Bhreatain. Tosóidh na chéad mhic léinn ar an BA nua in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies i Meán Fómhair 2012. Glacfar le hiarratais tríd an CAO, agus is é GY118 cód an chúrsa nua. -críoch-

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

400 jobs as part of €75 million spend on university developments There was a major boost for employment in the West of Ireland today as NUI Galway announced the beginning of five construction projects on its city centre campus. An estimated 400 jobs are expected to be created in the construction sector as work begins on five new buildings valued at €75 million. The University has awarded a contract for the completion of three new world-class research buildings to Galway-based contractor, JJ Rhatigan & Co, including an Arts Humanities Social Sciences Research Building and two buildings dedicated to Biomedical Science Research. These buildings, which had been temporarily stalled by the receivership of a previous contractor, will be completed on a phased basis from the end of 2012 into early 2013. Work has already begun on the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Building, located beside the existing James Hardiman Library. The Building will provide a unique research environment to transform Galway’s rich cultural resources into social and economic opportunity. The new facility will be a national and international resource that integrates research and training in the Humanities, Digital Cultures, Creative Industries, Business, Social Sciences, Human Rights, Advocacy, and Public Policy. Construction will shortly re-commence on the Biosciences Research Building, located near the Corrib Village student accommodation in Dangan. The third building, a combined Clinical/Translational Research Facility, will be located on the grounds of University Hospital Galway and will also begin in early 2012. Together, these two facilities will enable NUI Galway to build on its existing strength in the biomedical sciences area. NUI Galway is located at the centre of the medical device and healthcare industries in Ireland and the new facilities are expected to enhance the national capacity and international standing of Ireland in the biomedical sciences arena. The new infrastructure requirements on campus stem from the rapid growth of research activity, in biomedical science for example, which directly supports the region's vital medical devices industry. Infrastructure requirements are also being fuelled by dramatic rises in student numbers. Speaking about the development of the research infrastructure at the University, President Jim Browne commented: “I am delighted that these strategically important projects are underway. The investment in research infrastructure will have an immediate benefit in bringing much-needed jobs to the construction industry. Concentrating resources on biomedical science and arts, humanities and social sciences research at NUI Galway will have a major impact on the medical technologies and the creative arts industries in the West of Ireland. We have the opportunity now to provide two distinct Irish industry sectors with relevant, world-class research solutions, transforming national leadership into global competitiveness.” Work has also got underway on two other buildings on the NUI Galway campus. An €8m extension to the Arts Millennium Building, which will house the University’s growing School of Psychology, is scheduled for completion during 2013; JJ Rhatigan & Co is the contractor. Construction has re-commenced on an extension to the student branch of the Bank of Ireland, located on the Arts/Science Concourse. BAM Building Limited will complete this extension. Commenting on the investment in the campus, Vice-President for Capital Projects, Mr Keith Warnock said: “The University will play its part in revitalising the economy and bringing much-needed jobs to the construction sector. We are investing in world-class facilities for our students. At present, we are investing €.75 million per week in developing our campus so that we can offer students a learning environment that is second to none.” -ends-                  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Leagan GaeilgeBorradh Fostaíochta leis an Obair Thógála ar siúl arís ar Champas OÉ Gaillimh 400 post mar chuid d’infheistíocht €75 milliún i bhfoirgnimh san OllscoilDea-scéala do staid fostaíochta Iarthar na tíre inniu gur fhógair OÉ Gaillimh go gcuirfí tús le cúig thogra tógála ar champas na hOllscoile. Meastar go gcruthófar 400 post in earnáil na tógála nuair a thosóidh an obair ar chúig fhoirgneamh ar luach €75 milliún. Tá conradh tugtha ag an Ollscoil do chonraitheoir na Gaillimhe, JJ Rhatigan & Co, chun trí cinn de na foirgnimh thaighde den chéad scoth a thógáil. Is iad sin an Foirgneamh Taighde sna Dána, sna Daonnachtaí & sna hEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus dhá Fhoirgneamh Taighde don Eolaíocht Bhithleighis. Cuireadh moill leis an obair thógála seo nuair a cuireadh an conraitheoir roimhe seo faoi ghlacadóireacht. Tógfar céim ar chéim anois na foirgnimh agus beidh siad réidh faoi dheireadh 2012 nó tús 2013. Tá tús curtha leis an obair cheana féin ar an bhFoirgneamh Taighde sna Dána, sna Daonnachtaí & sna hEolaíochtaí Sóisialta, le taobh Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin. Beidh timpeallacht uathúil taighde san Fhoirgneamh a úsáidfidh acmhainní iontacha cultúir na Gaillimhe mar dheis shóisialta agus eacnamaíoch. Áis náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta a bheas san fhoirgneamh nua a thabharfaidh taighde agus oiliúint le chéile sna Daonnachtaí, Cultúr Digiteach, Tionscal Cruthaitheach, Gnó, Eolaíochtaí Sóisialta, Cearta Daonna, Abhcóideacht, agus Polasaí Poiblí. Tosóidh an obair thógála arís go luath ar an bhFoirgneamh don Eolaíocht Bhithleighis in aice le Baile na Coiribe sa Daingean. Beidh an tríú foirgneamh, Foirgneamh Taighde Cliniciúil/Aistritheach, suite ar thalamh Ospidéal na hOllscoile agus cuirfear tús leis an tógáil go luath in 2012. Cuirfidh an dá fhoirgneamh seo le cumas OÉ Gaillimh i réimse na n-eolaíochtaí bithleighis. Tá OÉ Gaillimh suite i lár cheantar na dtionscal feistí leighis agus cúram sláinte in Éirinn agus meastar go gcuirfidh na foirgnimh nua le cumas náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta na hÉireann i réimse na n-eolaíochtaí bithleighis. Teastaíonn na foirgnimh nua seo ar an gcampas mar gheall ar an mborradh as cuimse atá tagtha ar ghníomhaíocht taighde, san eolaíocht bhithleighis mar shampla, rud a thacaíonn go díreach le tionscal feistí leighis an réigiúin. Tá géarghá le breis spáis freisin mar gheall ar an méadú mór atá tagtha ar líon na mac léinn. Ag labhairt dó faoin bhforás ar bhonneagar taighde na hOllscoile, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Uachtarán Jim Browne: “Táim fíorshásta go bhfuil na tograí tábhachtacha seo ar bun. Beidh tairbhe ag an infheistíocht seo sa bhonneagar taighde ó thaobh poist a bhfuil géarghá leo a chruthú i dtionscal na tógála. Má dhírítear acmhainní ar an eolaíocht bhithleighis agus ar an taighde sna dána, sna daonnachtaí agus sna heolaíochtaí sóisialta in OÉ Gaillimh beidh an-tionchar aige sin ar thionscail na dteicneolaíochtaí leighis agus na n-ealaíon cruthaitheach in Iarthar na hÉireann. Tá an deis againn anois réitigh taighde chuí den chéad scoth a sholáthar do dhá earnáil ar leith in Éirinn rud a chuirfidh lenár n-iomaíocht mar cheannairí náisiúnta ar fud an domhain.” Tá tús curtha leis an obair chomh maith ar dhá fhoirgneamh eile ar champas OÉ Gaillimh. Cuirfear síneadh €8m le hÁras Dán na Mílaoise. Lonnófar Scoil na Síceolaíochta, atá ag méadú, anseo nuair a bheidh sé críochnaithe in 2013; is é JJ Rhatigan & Co an conraitheoir. Tá an obair tosaithe arís ar shíneadh a chur le brainse na mac léinn de Bhanc na hÉireann, atá suite ar Shlí Dála na nDán/na hEolaíochta. Cuirfidh BAM Building Limited barr smólaigh ar an obair seo. Ag labhairt dó faoin infheistíocht ar an gcampas, dúirt an Leas-Uachtarán um Thionscadail Chaipitiúla, an tUasal Keith Warnock an méid seo a leanas: “Beidh a ról féin ag an Ollscoil chun borradh a chur faoin ngeilleagar agus poist a bhfuil géarghá leo a chruthú in earnáil na tógála. Táimid ag infheistiú in áiseanna den chéad scoth dár mic léinn. Faoi láthair, táimid ag infheistiú €.75 milliún sa tseachtain sa champas ionas go mbeimid in ann timpeallacht foghlama den chéad scoth a chruthú do na mic léinn.” -críoch-  

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Athlone on Thursday, 26 January. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a 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. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies which is brand new for 2012. “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 Athlone, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Athlone is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Athlone, contact Celine O Donovan, Schools Liaison Office at NUI Galway, on 087 2391219 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie  -Ends-  

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A report that will lay the foundation for Ireland’s first National Strategy for Dementia was launched by the Minister for Health, James Reilly, in Trinity College Dublin today (January 18, 2012).  The report estimates prevalence rates of dementia in Ireland; quantifies the economic and social costs of dementia; assesses current service availability for people with dementia and best practice in dementia care nationally and internationally. It was launched on the occasion of the opening of the conference ‘Developing a National Dementia Strategy’. Creating Excellence in Dementia Care: A Research Review for Ireland’s National Dementia Strategy − is the result of a joint collaboration between researchers at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway (Professor Eamon O’Shea) and the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre’s Living with Dementia research programme at Trinity College Dublin and St James’s Hospital (TCD Associate Professor Suzanne Cahill and Dr Maria Pierce). The report was funded by Atlantic Philanthropies to provide evidence-based research for the purpose of supporting the development of a National Dementia Strategy, which the Government has promised to develop by 2013. “The next stage of the process in developing a national strategy will require direct consultation with people with dementia, their family members and with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the development of an inclusive and holistic strategy on dementia that will stand the test of time and will reflect the needs and interests of the key stakeholders. Policy formulation and implementation for dementia requires the direct involvement of the Department of Health and consultation with a much wider coalition of interests and stakeholders,” concluded co-author, NUI Galway’s Professor Eamon O’Shea. Commenting on the significance of the research, Trinity Associate Professor Suzanne Cahill said: “At a time when across Europe, much progress has been made in mobilising joint action in the fight against dementia, dementia remains hidden and largely invisible in Ireland and is a hugely underfunded and underprioritised health issue in the country. Several countries including England, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Australia have now well developed strategies, some indeed being onto their second and third iterations. The recent government promise of a new National Dementia Strategy for Ireland by 2013 is both opportune and timely. Although the number of people with dementia is set to rise significantly, having an evidence base available to inform the direction of future public policy on dementia makes it a lot easier to design care services supporting the individual and family members to live well with dementia and to die in dignity with dementia.” There are about 41,740 people with dementia in Ireland*, of whom 26,000 live at home. An estimated 3,583 (approximately 8.6% of all people with dementia) have early onset dementia.  Approximately 4,000 new cases of dementia arise in the general Irish population every year and the incidence of dementia is higher than cancer and heart disease with numbers expected to more than treble over the next thirty years. The research review suggests that the majority of the 26,104 people with dementia living at home in the community most probably do not have a formal diagnosis. This has implications for individuals and families planning for an uncertain future and for developing appropriate pathways to care. There are an estimated 50,000 family carers in Ireland looking after someone with at least one of six specified symptoms of dementia. The review suggests that about two-thirds of all long-stay residents in the country have dementia with many of these people again not having a formal diagnosis. The economic and social costs of dementiaThe report estimates the overall cost of dementia in Ireland to be just over €1.69 billion per annum, 48% of which is attributable to informal care provided by family and friends to those living with dementia in the community. A further 43% is accounted for by residential long-stay care, while other formal health and social care services contribute only 9% to the total costs of dementia. Consistent with per capita estimates from other countries, the average cost per person with dementia in Ireland is estimated at €40,500. Improving care in the community and providing greater support for families will require additional public spending, including having to make difficult choices about the reallocation of some of the existing institutional resources to community care given the perilous state of the public finances. Gaps in Service ProvisionIn Ireland, early diagnosis, and sometimes any diagnosis, is the exception rather than the rule and Irish GPs like their European counterparts experience difficulty diagnosing this illness and would welcome more training and resources.  Family caregivers are the linchpin to the success of community care but only a small proportion of people with dementia are receiving critical services such as day care, public health nursing, home care packages and respite.  Community care services for people with dementia and their carers remain under-developed, inequitable, and fragmented. In this country very few people with dementia have been allocated a case manager (the approach taken in some European countries) to directly represent their interests. One of the resounding weaknesses of Irish home care services is that these services are not underpinned by legislation nor are they provided on a statutory basis. In the absence of the required level of community support, people with dementia will continue to be placed in long-term care prematurely. People with dementia sometimes end up in hospital A&E departments or as in-patients in these hospitals, settings far from ideal given their unique and complex needs. Formal assessment and diagnosis of patients admitted to hospital who might have dementia is a necessary condition for better care and support, including appropriate long-term placement. A review of care for people with dementia in acute care settings in Ireland is urgently needed. A dementia champions’ programme in acute hospitals would facilitate a more person-centred approach to care.  Two thirds of people in long stay care are estimated to have dementia. In Ireland there are few alternates to the nursing home model of care and whilst some facilities have dementia specific beds these are the exception rather than the rule.  International evidence suggests a trend towards providing care for people with dementia in long-stay settings in small-scale (maximum of 8 to 10) homely and specialised care settings. Key elements for the new Strategy arising from the research: greater emphasis on primary prevention and on ways of avoiding or delaying the illness particularly through reducing  heart disease and stroke enhanced public awareness about dementia early diagnosis through improving access to memory clinics and enhanced multidisciplinary training and education in dementia for primary care workers, hospital staff and people working in long-stay settings case management models of integrated care expansion of dedicated and flexible community-based services, for example, day care services and family support programmes, for people with dementia and their carers development of new and expanded psychosocial approaches to complement existing medical and neurological models of service delivery in the community and in residential care units development of small-scale, appropriately designed, residential care units greater awareness, ownership and leadership of dementia in the acute care sector further expansion and availability of palliative care services for people dying of and with a dementia development of appropriate services for people with early-onset dementia, including people with Down syndrome enhanced information systems on the number of people with dementia, severity of the disease, placement patterns and quality of life.-ends-  

Friday, 20 January 2012

College football clubs around the country are currently training hard for the Sigerson Cup Competition, which will be hosted this year by the Gaelic Football Club at NUI Galway on 24 and 25 February.  To coincide with the competition, a group of current and past club members have come together, to organise a special Centenary Club and Sigerson  Reunion.  The event is for all former ‘UCG’ players, trainers, coaches, officers and members of the Club throughout the decades.  The event will take place at the Radisson Hotel, Galway on Friday, February 24, 2012. The year 2012 is a very significant anniversary for the Gaelic Football Club at NUI Galway which was founded in 1911-12 and which won the Sigerson Competition for the first time in 1912.   For the 2012 Reunion, the 1962 – 63 Sigerson team members will be guests of honour in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of their wins in both 1962 and 1963.  All other winning Galway Sigerson teams of the last sixty years are also invited to join as special guests for the celebration. While the organisers of this year’s Reunion are keen to celebrate the success of the many successful Sigerson teams, they also stress that this event will be a Centenary celebration of all past Sigerson Competitions, won or lost, and of the Club’s achievements since its foundation.  It is expected that former members will travel from all over the country, to renew acquaintances, recall former matches and enjoy the atmosphere at what promises to be a wonderful occasion!  A special Centenary Sigerson programme is also being prepared for the weekend event. As well as organising the Reunion, the current NUI Galway Gaelic Football Club is actively preparing to host the Sigerson Cup Competition in Galway this year, so it’s a case of ‘all hands on deck’, to prepare for what will be a great sporting and social weekend.  Ends

Friday, 20 January 2012

Graduates from the Electronic and Computer Engineering programme (CAO code GY406) at NUI Galway are experiencing demand for their skills far beyond anything they could have ever imagined when they entered the course. At a time when the country is experiencing some of the most significant financial turmoil, with hundreds of thousands out of work, this particular cohort of graduates from NUI Galway is experiencing a boom, with many of the students securing jobs long before they even finish their course of study. According to programme director for Electronic and Computer Engineering at NUI Galway, Dr Martin Glavin: “The jobs are there, and they are there in very signficant numbers for our graduates. Recent surveys from the careers office at NUI Galway show full employment for graduates of the programme for the last number of years. In fact, the country is experiencing a shortage of graduates with skills in the areas of electronics, software development and computing.” Dr Glavin added: “Our graduates are in demand across a very wide range of industry sectors ranging from ICT to financial services, so they are well protected from the natural ups and downs of any one sector. Furthermore, all the indications are that the demand will still be there for many years to come with most high tech companies seeing a very bright future in this country. Secondary school students filling out their CAO forms should give serious consideration to a career in the electronics and computing sector.” Electronic and Computer Engineering is a course that integrates two separate engineering fields to meet the joint demands made by a wide range of industries in today's world. This programme combines coursework in different aspects of both fields over four years, with an emphasis on the design of computing systems. Electronics and computers, and their joint applications, are playing an ever increasing role in our lives, with everything from smartphones to space rockets using electronic hardware (circuits) and computer software integrated together. Paul Killoran, a graduate of the Electronic and Computer Engineering programme, now running his own startup company, Ex Ordo commented: “We can’t find Irish graduates to fill highly paid Irish jobs. Some of the best Irish jobs cannot be filled by Irish engineers because we don’t have the talent pool here. Our latest hire came from Argentina and our future developers will probably come from abroad because I really can’t find any engineers in Ireland, and believe me, I’ve tried!” Companies who design integrated electronics and computer systems require engineers who possess the software skills to complement traditional electronic hardware skills. The Electronic and Computer Engineering degree programme has been developed in response to these industry demands to develop students' hardware and software engineering skills in an integrated way and the analytical powers to apply them jointly. Another graduate of the programme and recent winner of the Best Developer award at the 2011 Appys, Vinny Coyne adds: “The mobile app development business is booming and this is why I set up my own company, App Sandwich. However, I really struggle to find developers with the skills that we need as a company because there simply are not enough second level students entering programmes like the Electronic and Computer Engineering programme in NUI Galway. We need to start encouraging our best and brightest into these types of courses because this is where the jobs and growth potential will be in the years ahead.” Graduates of Electronics and Computer Engineering (GY406) at NUI Galway are ideally placed to pursue their specialism in ICT, which has wide applicability both national and international, with many indigenous technology companies and the multinational sectors. Applications through CAO should be submitted by Wednesday, 1 February, 2012. ENDS  

Monday, 23 January 2012

The annual NUI Galway Postgraduate Open Day takes place on Wednesday, 1 February, from 12 to 4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. Almost 3,500 postgraduate students currently attend NUI Galway, making it one of Ireland’s most popular universities for postgraduate study. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options.The Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. 80 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at NUI Galway, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses.According to John Hannon, Head of NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre: “In the current economic climate, there is increased interest among undergraduate students in staying in education by pursuing postgraduate studies. A postgraduate qualification can provide a real career boost. Undoubtedly, it can maximise career prospects and earnings.”NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine.Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Admissions Officer, adds: “People are always interested in up-skilling, improving their qualifications and their employability. With so many options available at postgraduate level, people must choose carefully. The Postgraduate Open Day offers the opportunity to talk to lecturers and current postgraduate students. My advice would be to apply early and often as you can make up to three applications online at www.pac.ie/nuigalway.ie.” Information on scholarships, fees and other practical considerations will also be made available to prospective students on the day.To book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day or you can register on the day. -ends-  

Monday, 23 January 2012

Osteoarthritis researchers at NUI Galway are part of a new European project which is looking to incorporate the views of patients and the general public at the earliest stages of research. As part of the EU-funded GAMBA project, the University is looking for osteoarthritis patients who would like to learn about new therapy approaches and are willing to evaluate theses approaches from a patient’s point of view. The patients should be resident in Galway, be at least 18 years old, and be available for four days in March 2012. The views of the general public will be sought in early summer. Osteoarthritis is a very common joint disease, which can impact quite severely on the quality of life of patients. At the age of 65 most people are affected, and women are more commonly affected than men. Symptoms such as restricted mobility and pain can be alleviated and the progression of the disease can be slowed, but up to now it is not possible to heal the disease. For the consultation project, based at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, the participants will be introduced to the topics of innovative basic research into osteoarthritis and – depending on interest – further background information on gene therapy, stem cell research and nanomedicine. “We are really planning to engage with the people who arguably know most about arthritis, the sufferers. What is it that patients need and want? Will it be possible to regrow bones, to generate cartilage in the body and to stop joint inflammation effectively in 20 years time? What risks and ethical aspects are associated with such visions? These are just some of the questions we want to discuss”, said Dr Mary Murphy, REMEDI, NUI Galway. Dr Murphy added: “Until now, the evaluation of the risks associated with new health technologies are normally left to the experts. New therapy approaches usually don’t come to the attention of patients and society until they are tested in clinical trials or once the products are launched on the market. However, NUI Galway is actively inviting those suffering from osteoarthritis and the general public to contact them, so share their own insights with scientific experts.” All the sessions will be supported by a experienced team of moderators, who will ensure that the information supplied is comprehensible. As part of the GAMBA project (Gene Activated Matrices for Bone and Cartilage Regeneration in Arthritis) researchers at REMEDI are involved in developing new methods for the treatment of osteoarthritis. In collaboration with nine partner institutions from Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland, researchers in REMEDI hope it might be possible to heal diseased joints in 10 to 20 years. This would be done by introducing a combination of biomaterials, stem cells harvested from the patient, gene vectors and nanoparticles directly into the diseased tissue. “The hope is”, explains Dr Murphy, “that these enriched biomaterials could make a regeneration of the joints possible.” The application form and further information are available online http://www.gamba-project.eu/panels or can be requested on 091 49 4276. The main website for the project is http://gamba-project.eu. -ends-

Monday, 23 January 2012

The 7th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place this Thursday and Friday (26, 27 January). The event will see over 1,300 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,300 primary school children. The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, and up to 200 medical and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 3-8, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of others weird and wonderful ailments. Hanin Hamza, a first year medical student at NUI Galway and a member of Sláinte Society, is heading up the event organisation this year: “We hope to build on the successes of previous years and show that going to the doctor isn’t so scary after all.  This is expected to be the largest Teddy Bear Hospital ever, and it will be an incredibly busy couple of days. As students, we have so much fun on the day, it’s a great change of pace from study, and we love the excitement among the kids who really get into the spirit of things.” This year, 32 local primary schools are participating in the event. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children will go to the ‘waiting room’, which contains jugglers and face painters. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them.  The students will have specially designed and built X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them.   Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce, along with medical supplies from Matt O’Flaherty to help poor teddy recover. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and visit an Order of Malta ambulance. Further support for the event has come from, among others, MPS, Eye Cinema, Dunnes Stores, Medisource and Smyth’s Toys. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The Teddy Bear hospital is a wonderful opportunity for the students to engage in a meaningful way with the children in Galway City and County schools. It is one of the NUI Galway societies' most colourful and endearing community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who invite the children and their teddy bears on to campus for such a great reason and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.” -ends-        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                        Otharlann na mBéiríní á reáchtáil ag Mic Léinn OÉ GaillimhDen seachtú bliain as a chéile, beidh Otharlann na mBéiríní, ar oscailt in OÉ Gaillimh an 26 agus an 27 Eanáir. Tiocfaidh breis agus 1,300 béirín tinn chun na hotharlainne lena bhfeighlithe, 1,300 páiste bunscoile. Is é an Cumann Sláinte, craobh OÉ Gaillimh de Chónaidhm Idirnáisiúnta Chumann na Mac Léinn Leighis, agus suas le 200 mac léinn leighis agus eolaíochta a bheidh ar láimh le scrúdú leighis a dhéanamh ar na béiríní agus le cóir leighis a chur orthu. Tá súil acu go gcuideoidh sin le páistí, idir 3-8 mbliana, a bheith ar a suaimhneas nuair a bheidh siad ag an dochtúir nó san otharlann.  Thar na blianta, thug páistí béiríní chuig an otharlann agus réimse leathan tinnis ag gabháil dóibh cosúil le cluasa tinne, boilg bhreoite agus gach cineál gearán eile faoin spéir. Tá Hanin Hamza, mac léinn chéad bhliana sa leigheas in OÉ Gaillimh agus ball den Chumann Sláinte, ag eagrú ócáid na bliana seo: “Tá súil againn go n-éireoidh chomh maith linn is a d’éirigh le blianta beaga anuas agus go léireoimid nár cheart eagla a bheith ar pháistí dul chuig an dochtúir. Táthar ag súil go mbeidh Otharlann na mBéiríní i mbliana ar an gceann is mó riamh, agus beidh cúpla lá thar a bheith gnóthach againn. Mar mhic léinn, bíonn an-spraoi againn ar an lá, is iontach an t-athrú é ón staidéar, agus is breá linn na sceitimíní a bhíonn ar na páistí agus iad thar a bheith tógtha leis an ócáid.” I mbliana, beidh daltaí agus béiríní as 32 bunscoil áitiúil ag freastal ar an Otharlann. Nuair a thagann na páistí chuig Otharlann na mBéiríní ar an gcampas, rachaidh siad chuig an 'seomra feithimh', áit a mbeidh lámhchleasaithe agus maisitheoirí aghaidheanna ag fanacht orthu.  Ansin buailfidh na páistí agus na béiríní le foireann de Dhochtúirí Béiríní agus d’Altraí Béiríní a chuirfidh scrúdú leighis orthu.  Beidh meaisíní speisialta X-gha agus MRI ag na mic léinn ar fhaitíos go mbeidís ag teastáil ó na béiríní. Beidh Cógaslann Béiríní ann chomh maith, agus beidh torthaí sláintiúla ó Total Produce ann mar aon le soláthairtí leighis ó Chógaslann Matt O’Flaherty le cóir leighis a chur ar na béiríní. I ndiaidh an rírá seo ar fad beidh na páistí ábalta súgradh sa chaisleán spraoi agus cuairt a thabhairt ar otharcharr de chuid Ord Mhálta. Beidh Cumann Cleasaíochta OÉ Gaillimh agus maisitheoirí aghaidheanna, a bheidh ag obair go deonach, ag cur siamsaíochta ar fáil i rith an ama. I measc na ndreamanna atá ag tabhairt tacaíochta don ócáid tá MPS, Pictiúrlann an Eye, Dunnes Stores, Medisource agus Smyth’s Toys. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Ríona Hughes, Oifigeach na gCumann in OÉ Gaillimh:  “Is iontach an deis a thugann Ospidéal na mBéiriní do mhic léinn oibriú go fiúntach le páistí i scoileanna chathair agus chontae na Gaillimhe. Tá sé ar cheann de na cláir pobail for-rochtana is ildaite agus is deise a bhíonn idir lámha ag cumainn OÉ Gaillimh agus táimid thar a bheith sásta lena fheabhas atá ag éirí leis. Comhghairdeas leis an gCumann Sláinte a thugann cuireadh do pháistí agus dá mbéiríní chun an champais agus táimid ag súil le cúpla lá thar a bheith tairbheach do chách atá bainteach leis an ócáid”. -ends-

Monday, 23 January 2012

Special guest, poet Rita Ann Higgins, has launched the 12th annual NUI Galway Arts Festival programme, Múscailt, which runs from 6-10 February. The Festival contains a superb programme of music, art, performance and film, with many free events to which the public are welcome. This year’s theme is Illumination/Soilsiú and fun features include pop-up sculptures, protest art, street art, origami, hip-hop and a ‘yarn bomb’, where structures on campus receive bespoke knitwear.  Deep Sea/Deep Space, a video installation created for the Sea2sky Festival held in 2011, will be on show in the University Art Gallery. Marielle MacLeman, artist in residence with Geology and Zoology, will show new works at the Zoology and Marine Biology Museum and will be in residence at the James Mitchell Geology Museum throughout the week. Special guest artist, Sinéad Aldridge, will launch Artsoc’s annual show ‘Derelicte’ and deliver an illustrated lecture entitled ‘Stop Making Sense-Play Havoc’, on protest art or the aesthetics of resistance. Anthony J. Faulder-Mawson will transform a glass bridge on campus and five selected artists will show proposals for large-scale original art-works for the NUI Galway campus. Former MA students of Art Therapy will also present new work in ‘Sacred Space-Porous Place’ in the Arts Millennium Building. Juggling and magic join forces as guest artiste Yann Frisch performs a superb magic manipulation act in the Bailey Allen Hall. The Galway Musical Society, GUMS, will perform the new musical, ‘Spring Awakening’, in the Town Hall Theatre. The ‘Witless Band Competition Final’ takes place in the Student Union Bar with judges and public vote, while Music for Galway features the remarkable Rolf Hind on piano, playing ‘Debussy and Beyond’ in the Aula Maxima. NUI Galway Orchestra, Tradsoc, Choralsoc and Diplóma in Trad music students also perform. The Bank of Ireland Student Theatre will host ‘Mise Scéal Cailín’, the hit puppet show from Branar; a Poetry Slam with MC Pete Mullineaux; new writings and performances from NUI Galway’s students and staff in ‘Solo Show’ and a production of ‘The Clean House’ by Sarah Ruhl, performed by Dramsoc. Comicsoc takes on the ‘24 Hour Comic Book Challenge’ where these bright young artists will draw, write, edit and publish a comic within one full day. Huston Film School students present a selection of their new works and Anime Manga soc and Filmsoc show their favourites. Current staff and alumni will showcase published fiction and poetry and local filmmakers will present new short works. NUI Galway’s President Jim Browne extends an open invitation to the public to attend the closing event of Múscailt, ‘The Galway Music Residency-NUI Galway Sponsor’s Concert’, at 1pm on Friday, 10 February, in the Bailey Allen Hall. The specially chosen programme includes Air by J.S. Bach, Swan by Camille Saint-Saëns, and the exciting ‘Finale from the American Quartet’ by Antonin Dvorák, all performed by Galway ensemble-in-residence, ConTempo Quartet, in association with Arts in Action. Commenting on this year’s line up, Fionnuala Gallagher, NUI Galway Arts Officer says, “Our theme this year, Illumination, represents a bursting forth of ideas from all of the art-forms. Múscailt 2012 will be provocative and fun and there is room for interaction, debate and feedback throughout the week. Everyone is welcome to participate.” All exhibitions are open Monday - Friday. For full information see www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie. For a copy of the programme contact the Arts Office at 091 493766 or 091 495098. Tickets for events and info on Society events will be available from the Socsbox at 091 492852 or socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. Spring Awakening tickets are also available from Town Hall Theatre www.tht.ie or 091 569777. -ends-         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                                Seolann OÉ Gaillimh an 12ú Féile Bhliantúil EalaíonInniu sheol an t-aoi speisialta, an file Rita Ann Higgins an 12ú clár bliantúil d’Fhéile Ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh, Múscailt, a bheidh ar siúl ón 6-10 Feabhra. Tá clár iontach ceoil, ealaíne, léirithe agus scannáin ag an bhFéile, agus tá go leor de na himeachtaí saor in aisce agus fáilte roimh chách chucu.Is é Soilsiú téama na bliana seo agus i measc na nithe iontacha a bheidh le feiceáil beidh preabdhealbha, ealaín agóide, ealaín sráide, origami, hip-hap agus “buama cniotála", áit a bhfaighidh struchtúir ar an gcampas ábhar cniotála aonuaire. Taispeánfar Deep Sea/Deep Space, físeán a rinneadh don Fhéile Sea2sky, i nGailearaí Ealaíne na hOllscoile. Beidh saothair nua le Marielle MacLeman, an tEalaíontóir Cónaitheach le Geolaíocht agus Zó-eolaíocht, le feiceáil ag doras Mhúsaem na Zó-eolaíochta agus in situ i Músaem Geolaíochta James Mitchell ar feadh na seachtaine.Seolfaidh aoi speisialta, an t-ealaíontóir Sinéad Aldridge, ‘Derelicte’, seó bliantúil an Artsoc agus tabharfaidh sí léacht le léaráidí dar teideal ‘Stop Making Sense-Play Havoc’, léacht faoi ealaín agóide nó aeistéiticí friotaíochta. Léireoidh Anthony J. Faulder Mawson droichead gloine ar an gcampas agus taispeánfaidh cúigear ealaíontóirí roghnaithe tograí do bhunsaothair ealaíne ar mhórscála do champas OÉ Gaillimh. Taispeánfaidh iar-mhic léinn Teiripe Ealaíne saothar nua in Sacred Space-Porous Place in Áras Dán na Mílaoise.Tiocfaidh an chleasaíocht agus an draíocht le chéile nuair a fheicfear Yann Frisch, aoi-thaibheoir, i mbun a cheirde i Halla Bailey Allen. Cuirfidh Cumann Ceoldrámaíochta na hOllscoile an ceoldráma nua, ‘Spring Awakening’, i láthair sa Dubhlann. Beidh ‘Craobhchomórtas na mBannaí Witless’ ar siúl i mBeár Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn, áit a mbeidh vóta ag na moltóirí agus ag an bpobal. Chomh maith leis sin beidh Rolf Hind le cloisteáil ar an bpianó ag casadh ‘Debussy and Beyond’ san Aula Maxima mar chuid de Music for Galway. Beidh Ceolfhoireann OÉ Gaillimh, an Tradsoc, an Choralsoc agus mic léinn ón Dioplóma sa cheol traidisiúnta ar stáitse chomh maith.I measc na rudaí a bheidh le feiceáil in Amharclann Bhanc na hÉireann beidh ‘Mise Scéal Cailín’, an seó puipéad ón gComhlacht Amharclainne Branar; Craobh Filíochta le Duaiseanna agus Pete Mullineaux mar fhear an tí; scríbhinní agus léirithe nua ó mhic léinn agus ó fhoireann OÉ Gaillimh sa ‘Seó SOLO’ chomh maith le léiriú de The Clean House le Sarah Ruhl, á chur i láthair ag an Dramsoc. Beidh dúshlán ‘Leabhar Grinn 24 uair an chloig’ ar siúl ag an Comicsoc, áit a ndéanfaidh na healaíontóirí óga is cumasaí i nGaillimh leabhar grinn a tharraingt, a scríobh, a chur in eagar agus a chur ar fáil laistigh de lá amháin.  Cuirfidh mic léinn ó Scoil Scannán Huston rogha dá saothair nua i láthair agus taispeánfaidh an cumann Anime Manga agus an Filmsoc na saothair is ansa leo. Taispeánfaidh cuid den fhoireann reatha agus an alumni ficsean agus filíocht atá foilsithe, agus cuirfidh lucht áitiúil scannánaíochta saothair nua ghearra i láthair.Tugann an tUachtarán James J. Browne cuireadh oscailte don phobal chuig searmanas dúnta Múscailt, ‘Ceolchoirm Urraithe OÉ Gaillimh leis an Galway Music Residency’ Dé hAoine, an 10 Feabhra ag 1pm i Halla Bailey Allen. Ar an gclár speisialta seo tá Air le J.S. Bach, Swan le Camille Saint-Saëns, agus an ‘Finale spleodrach ón Quartet Meiriceánach’ le Antonin Dvořák, agus iad ar fad á léiriú ag Ensemble Cónaithe na Gaillimhe, ConTempo Quartet i gcomhar le Arts in Action.Agus í ag tagairt d’imeachtaí na bliana seo, dúirt Fionnuala Gallagher, Oifigeach Ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh, “Cuimsíonn téama na bliana seo, Soilsiú, maidhm smaointe ó gach cineál ealaíne. Beidh Múscailt 2012 gríosaitheach agus spraíúil agus beidh neart deiseanna idirghníomhaíochta, díospóireachta agus aiseolais le linn na seachtaine. Tá fáilte roimh chách a bheith páirteach.”Beidh na taispeántais ar fad ar oscailt Dé Luain – Dé hAoine. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil féach www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie.  Chun cóip den chlár a fháil déan teagmháil leis an Oifig Ealaíon ag 091 493766 nó 091 495098. Beidh ticéid do na himeachtaí chomh maith le heolas faoi imeachtaí ar fáil ón Socsbox ag 091 492852 nó socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie.  Is féidir ticéid do Spring Awakening a fháil chomh maith ó Amharclann na Cathrach ag www.tht.ie nó 091 569777.-críoch-

Monday, 23 January 2012

Ireland has one of the highest incidences in the world of a blood cancer known as multiple myeloma, a gathering of clinicians and scientists heard last week. The event was a workshop hosted by NUI Galway, on behalf of the Myeloma Ireland Consortium (MIC), with the support of Science Foundation Ireland. MIC was established within the past year with the aim of increasing collaboration between ‘like-minded’ researchers from different academic institutions and hospitals in a co-ordinated approach to maximise research potential and improve patient outcomes in multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that arises from plasma cells, the white blood cells that produce antibodies. In effect, the cancer causes overproduction of antibody producing plasma cells leading to problems such as anaemia, bone damage, kidney failure and elevated calcium levels. The primary purpose of the meeting, which took place in Maynooth, was to highlight current research activities and encourage co-operation between the various research groups in Ireland working in the multiple myeloma field. In addition to updates from research groups from NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, and the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, delegates also heard from international experts. Dr Aldo Roccaro from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston spoke about new insights into the interaction of myeloma cells with the bone marrow microenvironment, including the role of exosomes. Dr Dirk Hose from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, covered the use of gene expression profiling for risk stratification and target assessment in clinical practice. Professor Frank Giles, who leads the HRB Clinical Research Facility in Galway and is Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin discussed Irish early-phase studies in myeloma in the context of the National Clinical Research Framework. An update on current multiple myeloma trials being conducted by the all-Ireland Cooperative Clinical Oncology Research Group (ICORG) was given by Dr Peter O’Gorman, Chair of the ICORG Haematology study group. Professor Micheal O’Dwyer, Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway and Consultant Haematologist, University Hospital Galway, who convened the event stated: “While treatments have improved over the last decade, and most patients are living longer, multiple myeloma remains an incurable disease. It is vital that scientists across the entire Irish research spectrum work together to find new treatment approaches and improve patient outcomes.” Throughout the event, there were opportunities to discuss the practicalities of undertaking translational research and potential opportunities for collaboration in Ireland. This workshop was also supported by Janssen and Celgene. -ends-

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A new study from NUI Galway has shown a significant improvement in managing breathing difficulties among people suffering from COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Health Research Board (HRB) - funded study trialled a community-based approached, through nurses, GP practices and physiotherapists, to help sufferers better manage their condition. COPD is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. The disease can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms. While cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust, may also contribute to COPD. The PRINCE (Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Nurse-led Community Environment) study was funded by the HRB, and consisted of a two-armed randomised cluster trial. In one arm (intervention group), persons with COPD received a structured education pulmonary rehabilitation programme, while the other arm (control group) received usual care. The study is one of the largest pulmonary rehabilitation trials conducted in primary care. The pulmonary rehabilitation programme was specifically designed by the study team for clients living in the community with COPD. The programme was delivered in GP practices or venues close by and facilitated by practice nurses and physiotherapists who were trained by the PRINCE study team to facilitate the programme. The content of the programme included medication management, breathing techniques and exercise training. It was delivered two hours per week over eight weeks. The study found that people who attended the programme were significantly better able to manage their breathing difficulties than those who did not attend. Principal study investigators Professor Kathy Murphy and Dr Dympna Casey, from the School of Nursing at NUI Galway, are excited by the study findings. Professor Murphy commented: “We both feel strongly that healthcare research must make a real difference to patients’ lives and we are delighted that the findings of our large trial does just that. Our study found that a community based pulmonary rehabilitation programme facilitated by trained physiotherapists and practice nurses who had no prior COPD expertise, is feasible, safe, and effective. Not only that, but it makes a real difference to patients with moderate to severe COPD by improving their dyspnoea and physical functioning.” Dr Casey added: “A key strength of this study is that by involving the practitioners who work within primary care and training them to facilitate delivery of the pulmonary rehabilitation programmes, we have helped to strengthen and build capacity within the Irish primary health care setting to manage COPD more effectively. Our work shows that it’s possible to expand the scope of pulmonary rehabilitation practice in Ireland from hospital-based to community-based programmes.” The comprehensive findings of the PRINCE Study were presented at a Respiratory Symposium sponsored by Pfizer and co-ordinated by the PRINCE research team, which was held in NUI Galway on 21 January 2012. The symposium, which focuses on respiratory management, was chaired by Dr Andrew Murphy Professor of General Practice, NUI Galway, and member of the PRINCE research team. The symposium also included a number of key note speakers including Dr Joe Clarke, HSE Primary Care Clinical Lead, and Professor JJ. Gilmartin, Respiratory Consultant, GUH, Galway. -ends-

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The next in NUI Galway’s series of public talks on sports technology will focus on ‘Re- Engineering the Swimmer: the Science and Technology of Swimming’. The free event takes place in room 3035 of the new Engineering Building on campus, on Tuesday, 31 January at 6pm. The lecture will be given by Dr Gavin Corley of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, who is himself a competitive swimmer. Dr Corley’s talk will focus on emerging technologies which are being used to enhance swimming coaching and performance. “More people in Ireland and the UK participate in swimming than in any other sport, with many of these people swimming at a competitive level,” explains Dr Corley. “Despite this, mainstream swimming hasn’t yet seen the same degree of adoption of new technologies as many other sports such as running or cycling. This is set to change. Recent developments in sensing, communication and material technologies are leading the way for a number of new innovations in swimming performance and coaching.” Following an overview on the history and physics of swimming, these emerging technologies will be discussed in depth with some conclusions on the future of the technological swimmer.” Dr Corley has been swimming competitively for most of his life and has spent the last 10 years teaching and coaching swimming. He currently swims with the NUI Galway swimming club.    Dr Gavin Corley is a post-doctoral researcher in the Bioelectronics Research Cluster at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Science and Adjunct Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway. He is working on the commercialisation of therapeutic and sensing technologies for older people. He is also an editor for the online medical device journal, Medgadget, where he writes about emerging medical, health and sporting technologies. The series of Sports Technology talks is being organised as part of NUI Galway’s degree programme in Sports & Exercise Engineering, whose students are being educated to design the next generation of sports and exercise systems and devices. For more information on the sports technology talks, which are supported by Engineers Ireland (West), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, visit www.ExerciseEngineering.com or call 091 492728. -ends- 

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway is currently recruiting patients with back pain to take part in the Pain Disability Prevention Programme (PDP) trial..  The study offers patients with back pain the opportunity to avail of 10 sessions with a clinical psychologist trained in pain rehabilitation. The sessions, which are free of charge, will focus on active rehabilitation, instruction in a range of pacing techniques, cognitive therapy to help identify negative thinking patterns and the development of effective challenges, stretching and exercising to improve physical function.  The study, funded by the HSE, will take place in counties Galway, Dublin, Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Limerick and Cork.  GPs and physiotherapists in these counties are being encouraged to refer suitable patients to the study.Miriam Raftery, Researcher at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway says: “We know that a combination of psychological and physical therapies provided at the early stages of back pain are beneficial, particularly for people at risk of long term disability.  However this type of service is often only accessible via specialised hospital-based pain management teams.  In this trial we will offer this type of service to people locally and at the earlier stages of injury. Ms Raftery added: “Many people find that a combination of cognitive and physical rehabilitation like the PDP programme enables them to take back control of their lives, to do more and feel better.  By trialing this early-intervention programme we can assess if this type of service is beneficial for people with chronic pain.”Patients can access physiotherapy and all medical services as usual while involved in the trial.  Clinicians are attached to the trial in each of the participating counties so appointments take place locally for patients.  In Limerick, Cork, Dublin and Galway appointments take place in the city, while in Donegal appointments are held in Letterkenny and Buncrana.  For patients in the Mayo region, appointments take place in Swinford, while in Sligo appointments are in Sligo town.The researchers are specifically interested in hearing from people who have back pain for no longer than 12 months and are either off work or on reduced work hours due to pain.For further information, please contact Miriam Raftery, Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, email miriam.raftery@nuigalway.ie , phone 091 495 830 or see the website www.nuigalway.ie/pdp  GPs interested in referring suitable patients to the trial can also contact this number.ENDS

Monday, 30 January 2012

The conservation and sustainable use of our agricultural biodiversity is critical to future sustainable development, both in Ireland and internationally. In response to this, on Thursday, 9 February, the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Centre is hosting AgBioDiv2012.The free event is Ireland’s first Annual AgroBiodiversity Conference. Agricultural biodiversity or agrobiodiversity refers to all biological and genetic diversity which is directly relevant to agriculture and food production.Agrobiodiversity concerns the variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms that are used directly or indirectly for food and agriculture, including crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries. It comprises the diversity of genetic resources (varieties, breeds) and species used for providing the food, fodder, fibre, fuel and medicines that we depend on for our everyday lives.AgBioDiv2012 organiser Professor Charles Spillane, Head of Plant and AgriBiosciences at NUI Galway, highlighted that: “Since the early 1990s there has been a tremendous upsurge in activity to conserve Ireland’s rare livestock breeds and threatened crop varieties. A coalition of activities by the Department of Agriculture and Food, universities, NGOs, and dedicated individuals across Ireland has led to a vibrant community now involved in agrobiodiversity conservation and sustainable use.”Professor Spillane said:“The time is right for an annual conference to bring everybody together to take stock of what has been done, what can be done and what is necessary to do over the coming years to ensure that agrobiodiversity contributes to a vibrant and sustainable food and agriculture sector in Ireland.”He added: “Such agrobiodiversity conservation efforts have ensured that native livestock rare-breeds such as Galway sheep and Kerry bog ponies and many threatened plant varieties have not become extinct over the past decade. Many such rare-breeds and varieties have become eligible for REPS (Rural Environment Protection Scheme) support. Ireland now has a national genebank, and we now store Ireland’s threatened crop varieties in the long-term Svalbard Global Seed Vault on the island of Spitzbergen inside the Arctic circle.”The line up of 19 invited speakers assembling for AgBioDiv2012 includes international speakers from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Bioversity International, and the National History Museum in Paris. A wide range of speakers from Ireland will cover agrobiodiversity topics including rare breeds of livestock, rare and threatened crops wild relatives, seed saving, forestry and tree conservation, seaweed diversity, horticultural and ornamental plants, energy crops, and honey bees.Dr Danny Hunter, Adjunct Lecturer in AgroBiodiversity and Leader of the AgroBiodiversity research theme in the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Centre highlighted that: “The recent State of Knowledge, Ireland’s Biodiversity 2010 report highlights the importance of biodiversity to the national economy with an estimated contribution of over €2.6 billion. Agricultural biodiversity, that element of biodiversity important for agriculture and food production, contributes substantially to this figure. The pollinators of our crops alone contribute about 80 million euro. Irish agriculture and food security depends on this diversity of animal, plant and microbial genetic resources. However, these biological resources are increasingly threatened and this requires urgent action to ensure they are effectively conserved for future generations.”NUI Galway AgroBiodiversity researcher Ms Angela Mina-Vargas said: “AgBioDiv2012 will provide opportunities to learn more about Ireland’s national activities and priorities regarding conservation of agrobiodiversity resources including rare breeds, rare crop and horticultural varieties, and a host of other diverse organisms including seaweeds, bryophytes, birds and bees that are important for the sustainability of future food and agricultural systems. Agrobiodiversity conservation and sustainable use is critical to future sustainable development and to ensuring food and livelihood security in societies across the globe, particularly in developing countries.”Dr Danny Hunter stressed that: “AgBioDiv2012 will hopefully contribute to an improved understanding of the current status of conservation and utilisation of agricultural biodiversity in Ireland including how we are meeting our commitments and obligations to global biodiversity Conventions and Treaties. It should also highlight gaps in our knowledge and provide a platform for greater networking among partners to address these. It is fitting that such a conference is taking place a few weeks after the death of Dr Erna Bennett, one of Ireland’s great unheralded scientists and an early pioneer of the science and practice of genetic conservation and champion of small farmers all over the world who have been the custodians of the planet's agricultural biodiversity.”AgBioDiv2012 will be held at NUI Galway on Thursday, 9 February, 2012 and is open to all who are interested. Registration is available at the conference website http://agbiodiversity.org, and is supported by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre, and Genetic Heritage Ireland. -ends-

Monday, 30 January 2012

A new learning resource developed by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway for Gaeltacht and all-Irish primary schools will be launched by the Head of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Edel Ní Chuireáin, on Wednesday (2pm) 1 February 2012, in Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim, Carna.  The launch will be broadcast live on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta. The new iTunes U – COGG (An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta & Gaelscolaíochta) Channel comprises audio and video resources that have been carefully selected from both the RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and NUI Galway archives, as part of a research project undertaken by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. The 300 new learning resources include songs, poems, stories, interesting points of information and history in the different dialects that are aimed at stimulating language acquisition and enrichment among Gaeltacht and all-Irish primary schools, particularly in 5th and 6th class.  A learning plan has also been developed for teachers to assist in the effective use of the resources in the classroom.  The Channel will also have resources for other learner groups.Muireann Ní Mhóráin, Chief Executive of COGG comments: “Digitial resources of a high standard are a prerequisite for the contemporary classroom.  The new Channel will add significantly to the current corpus of Irish language teaching resources available to Gaeltacht and all-Irish primary school teachers and to the student learning experience.  And with the Channel being launched on the Feast of St. Brigid it’s great see to our rich cultural heritage and new technology  being intertwined to develop Irish language learning resources in such an attractive and efficient way.”Commenting on behalf of the research team at NUI Galway Séamas Ó Concheanainn says: “This project  reinforces the role of research in third-level institutions in addressing the contemporary needs of primary schools with regard to the availability of excellent digitial teaching resources for the classroom.  The project draws on the expertise being developed in the digitial humanities at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge and at the Acadamh Centre at Carna, in particular.  The exploitation of modern learning tools and traditional resources together has the potential to significantly contribute to language acquisition and therefore this project underpins one of the Centre’s key strategic objectives, that of sustaining and strengthening the Irish language in the Gaeltacht and throughout the country.”Ends _________________________________________________________________________ Cainéal iTunes U de chuid COGG le seoladh beo ar RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta Seolfaidh Ceannaire RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta Edel Ní Chuireáin áis fhoghlama úrnua atá forbartha ag Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh do bhunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge, ar an gCéadaoin (2 p.m.) an 1 Feabhra 2012, in Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim, Carna. Craolfar an seoladh beo ar an gclár Ardtráthnóna ar RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.Is éard atá sa Chainéal nua iTunes U - COGG (An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta & Gaelscolaíochta) ná cnuasach saibhir d’acmhainní físe agus fuaime a roghnaíodh go cúramach ó Chartlann RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus ó Chartlanna Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh féin, mar chuid de thionscadal taighde atá curtha i gcrích ag Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge.  Áiríonn an Cainéal 300 mír fhoghlama ina bhfuil amhráin a gcasadh, dánta á n-aithris, scéalta spraíúla á n-insint, eolas á roinnt agus míreanna staire á gcur i láthair i gcanúintí éagsúla.   Tá na míreanna dírithe ar shealbhú agus ar shaibhriú na Gaeilge i measc daltaí i mbunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge, go háirithe daltaí Rang 5 agus 6.  In éineacht leis na hacmhainní féin, tá plean foghlama deartha a bheidh mar áis sa seomra ranga ag múinteoirí bunscoile agus iad ag úsáid na míreanna foghlama.  Tá acmhainní foghlama atá feiliúnach do spriocghrúpaí eile ar fáil ar an gCainéal freisin.Deir Príomhfheidhmeannach COGG, Muireann Ní Mhóráin:“Teastaíonn acmhainní digiteacha den chéad scoth sa seomra ranga. Cuirfidh an cainéal nua le stór acmhainní teagaisc mhúinteoirí bunscoile i ranganna 5 agus 6 ach go háirithe. Ba cheart go gcuirfeadh an cainéal go mór le heispéireas na foghlama i scoileanna Gaeltachta agus i nGaelscoileanna ar fud na tíre. Agus an cainéal á sheoladh ar Lá Fhéile Bríde, is maith liom go bhfuil an sean agus an nua ag obair as lámha a chéile agus go bhfuil saibhreas na muintire á roinnt an athuair ar shlí atá saoráideach agus snasta.”Thar ceann fhoireann an tionscadail in OÉ Gaillimh deir Riarthóir Ionad an Acadaimh, Carna , Séamas Ó Concheanainn:“Tionscnamh eiseamláireach é seo a dhaingníonn tábhacht an taighde ar an gceathrú leibhéal le freastal ar riachtanais chomhaimseartha múinteoirí bunscoileanna trí acmhainní digiteacha teagaisc den scoth a chur ar fáil don seomra ranga. Cuireadh an togra i gcrích a bhuíochas den saineolas sna daonnachtaí digiteacha atá á saothrú in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge trí chéile ach go háirithe in Ionad na hOllscoile anseo i gCarna. Cothaíonn saothrú an léinn nua-aoisigh agus an chultúir traidisiúnta in éineacht deiseanna ar leith don sealbhú teanga agus tacaíonn an tionscadal taighde seo go láidir mar sin le ceann de phríomh chuspóirí an Ionaid, sé sin an Ghaeilge a bhuanú agus a threisiú sa Ghaeltacht agus ar fud na tíre.”CRÍOCH

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

NUI Galway, in collaboration with software industry partners, has been awarded HEA funding for an innovative industry-focused Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development. This goal of this one-year post-graduate conversion course, co-designed with industry experts, is to increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high-growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast-track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience.The new Diploma builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region, and will provide graduates with: a solid foundation in key software design knowledge; a choice of software architecture specialization in either .NET or Java Enterprise; and a guaranteed work placement to gain relevant experience, and so provide the opportunity to kick-start their career as software developers.The industry partners include Avaya, Ericsson, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), Fidelity Investments, Hewlett Packard, Storm Technologies and the Marine Institute, and the new course will be delivered as part of the Information Technology Discipline’s complimentary portfolio of postgraduate degrees.Welcoming news of the award, Dr Jim Duggan, Lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway, commented: “This is a wonderful opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates from engineering, science, business, and arts to invest just one year of their time in further education, and, through placement experience with our Industry partners, they will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high tech ICT sector.”ENDS

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Four NUI Galway Medical students were recently presented with prizes from the Health Research Board (HRB). The overall winner of the Watts Medal was fourth-year medical student Dympna O’Dwyer from Mullagh, Co. Clare, with second place going to Sarah Cormican from Oranmore, Co. Galway, a third-year medical student at the University.Fourth-year medical student Urszula Donigiewicz from Carrigtwohill, Co. Sligo was presented with first place in the Watts Poster competition and third place was awarded to third-year medical student Maria Duignan from Boyle, Co. Roscommon.The Watts Medal is an annual prize awarded for the best presentation of scientific work to a lay audience. Undergraduate students who win a HRB Summer Scholarship are entitled to enter. Their entries are reviewed by scientists, and the best entries are selected for entry into the Watts Poster competition, with the top projects from that selected to compete for the Watts Medal proper.Commenting on the competition, HRB CEO Enda Connolly said: “The quality of the work on display both in the poster competition and the Watts Medal presentations was truly astounding. The students have shown ingenuity, commitment and drive to have accomplished so much in the eight weeks that their HRB Summer Scholarships lasted. They have been able to tackle complex problems, come up with genuine solutions, and place their research into the wider social context of how it translates to making people healthier and delivering better treatments.”Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of School of Medicine at NUI Galway, hopes to build further on this outcome by encouraging clinical and biomedical research as an integral part of undergraduate medical education, “Research is an extremely important component of disease specific knowledge and treatment but also contributes significantly to population health and health services research. The awards have occurred as a result of the commitment of undergraduate students to research, the supervision and mentoring of students by staff within the school, and the high calibre of the research being conducted” she said.-ENDS-

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Hewlett Packard Galway and NUI Galway recently launched a Masters Fellowship in Commerce as part of the 40thanniversary celebrations of HP Galway. This research based Masters Fellowship in commerce will examine the impact of HP Galway on the regional and national economy over the last 40 years. The research will investigate the spill over effects of HP Galway in terms of the economic development of Galway, the Western region and nationally and will also focus on other impacts particularly the development of the ICT industry in Ireland, management capabilities, the creation of start-ups, educational support at secondary and teritary levels.  Speaking on the launch of the fellowship Dr Chris Coughlan HP Galway “The forty years of Digital to HP in Galway had a profound and positive effect on Galway and Ireland, with this fellowship we hope to document and analyse this and apply the lessons learned to help industries to grow and increase employment.” Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy added: “We are delighted to collaborate with Dr Chris Coughlan and his colleagues at HP Galway and this study will compliment our research activities at NUI Galway in understanding the impacts of HP Galway on Galway city and the region.” Details of the masters fellowship are available at www.nuigalway.ie/cisc and the closing date for applications is the Wednesday, 18 January, 2012.   -Ends-

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Diagnosing cancer, maintaining a healthy gut, and improving baby formula are just some of the challenges which glycoscience researchers at NUI Galway are undertaking. This area of research is expanding at the University within the Glycoscience Group under the direction of Professor Lokesh Joshi. In total, the research has secured over €3 million in funding this year. Glycoscience is the study of the complex sugars which cover all cells in the human body, and many of the proteins in the bloodstream. These sugars and the proteins they bind to are like glue, linking our cells together. Understanding how these sugars change as the body grows or as disease develops could lead to some scientific breakthroughs. According to Professor Lokesh Joshi, who heads up the Glycoscience Group at NUI Galway and also works with the University’s National Centre for Biomedical Engineering (NCBES): “We are delighted with the additional funding of our research which is really gathering momentum here in Galway. Our research is aimed at the development of new tools for the detection and measurement of carbohydrates in biological systems and the identification of new pathways for exploitation of these important biomolecules as diagnostic targets, therapeutics or novel food components. This is a relatively new scientific field and a very exciting area for us to be involved in.” Recent new funding announcements include two projects in the Glycoscience Group under the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) programme, as announced recently by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD. In total, 23 projects in 13 research institutions were funded for collaborative research projects in the agri food area, to a total value of €10 million.  The NUI Galway projects, which will be carried out in collaboration with researchers in Teagasc Research Station in Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, aim to study the sugar components of milk with a view to benefiting the Irish infant formula industry, a major producer of infant formula for the world market. The Glycoscience Group has also been successful in securing Technology Innovation Development Awards (TIDA), from Science Foundation Ireland in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. The Glycoscience Group will lead one of the successful awards and is a collaborator on two others, the goal of which includes the identification of innovative glycoscience research ideas for commercial benefit. A further raft of funding for the Science Foundation Ireland supported Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (www.AGRC.ie) has also been agreed. The AGRC, established in 2009, is a collaboration between glycoscientists and alimentary microbiologists from a number of Irish universities and research institutes and led by NUI Galway. It also has several industrial partners. The main focus of the AGRC is to explore the role of sugars in the gut, with a view to developing novel ways of combating gut pathogens, and improving probiotic/prebiotic treatments to foster and maintain a healthy gut. In the field of cancer diagnostics, a young Galway medical doctor has recently joined the Glycoscience Group to investigate the role of glycosylation in the development and progression of Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of antibody-producing plasma cells in the bone marrow. Dr Siobhan Glavey, a graduate of NUI Galway, received a prestigious award from the Health Research Board under their National SpR/SR Academic Fellowship Programme 2011 to fund this work, which will be carried out under the direction of Professor Joshi and Professor Michael O’Dwyer of the Haemotology Department at University Hospital Galway. Arising from these new funding awards, a number of vacancies now exist for qualified researchers in Glycoscience Research at NUI Galway (see www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/jobs/).   -ends-  

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Focusing on preparing students for the challenging jobs market NUI Galway recently held Career Mentoring events. The events, organised by the NUI Galway J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, were attended by 40 students from the University and 20 mentors from a range of international and national industries and professions. During the events students participating in the career mentoring were given the opportunity to meet with a number of mentors on a one to one basis, to gain insights into the world of employment. The mentors shared their experiences and wisdom with the students allowing them the opportunity to get advice and discuss their career direction and employment goals. Speaking about the events, Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the School of Business and Economics said, “We are delighted to once again host these career mentoring events.  This initiative highlights the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics commitment to preparing its students for careers in the real world.  It also complements our newly introduced modules focusing on Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise and Skills for Work Life on all of our undergraduate business programmes.” Keith Rynhart, second year Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) student, found the opportunity to meet with senior professionals invaluable. “The career mentoring session was a wonderful experience, it really helped me clarify the path that I wish to take in the future and make some contacts in the business world.”   -Ends-

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

NBCRI has donated €1 million to the development of the Translational Research Facility at NUI Galway through Galway University Foundation.     The Translational Research Facility at NUI Galway is being developed on the grounds of University Hospital Galway adjacent to the Clinical Sciences Institute. It will house ten principal investigators and one hundred and twenty researchers across a broad range of disciplines in cancer biology as well as other key research programmes in clinical disciplines. The capacity for this space to be flexible and adaptable to different research needs means that there will be a continual flow of research programmes throughout its lifetime. This will be achieved by creating open-plan wet laboratory space, with an adjoining open plan write-up area, allowing research groups to expand and contract as their requirements change. The ten offices for principal investigators together with support facilities such as tissue culture and microscopy will be situated around the open plan area. The design of the building will, because of its open plan nature, help to facilitate the growth of multidisciplinary approaches to clinical problems. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway Michael Kerin: “The NBCRI has an extraordinary track record in funding breast cancer research since its establishment in 1991.  This latest gift will enhance the ability of the University to be internationally competitive and will ensure that the NBCRI has a footprint in the exciting Sate of the Art Translational Research Facility.  The infrastructure here will now be on a par with the world’s great Research Facilities and will enhance clinical developments and translational science for the West of Ireland’s population.”  Medical Research at NUI Galway NUI Galway is continually responding to the needs of the transforming healthcare service through aggressing research programmes and state of the art capital developments. The University’s vision in developing research Institutes and programmes in selected areas where we have a critical mass of experience and are recognised internationally has resulted in the development of many renowned research institutes such as the Regenerative Medicine Institute and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science. Interdisciplinary team-based research in regenerative medicine, cancer biology and therapeutics, biomedical engineering, glycoscience and neuroscience is focused on developing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to medical challenges including cardiovascular disease, orthopaedics, neurological disorders and cancer. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “NUI Galway is very pleased to accept this generous donation towards the development of our Translational Research Facility.  This new facility will allow our researchers to ‘translate’ their work into practical strategies which will help patients and those facing currently intractable health problems.  The cutting edge work being done by Galway scientists and clinicians will be brought from ‘bench to bedside’ in the new Translational Research Facility.  On behalf of NUI Galway I would like to sincerely thank the NBCRI, who do such sterling work to raise awareness of breast cancer.  Their generous support will enable cancer sufferers to benefit from innovative treatments to address their health concerns in the future.”  NCBRI The National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) is a voluntary based charity located at the Clinical Science Institute, University College Hospital, Galway. Launched in 1991, the key objective of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute is to conduct relevant, ethical research into the biology of breast cancer, to determine the cause of this disease and improve the treatment for patients. The National Breast Cancer Research Institute also work to raise awareness of breast cancer and fundraise to provide improved breast cancer services for women throughout Ireland. Up to 2000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in Ireland each year. As yet breast cancer cannot be prevented, its incidence can only be reduced by early detection. The cause and mechanism of action of breast cancer remain unknown. Treatments are available for breast cancer but ongoing research is essential to ensure the optimal treatment for all patients, to reduce their side effects, improve their quality of life and, primarily, increase their chance of survival. The research team at The National Breast Cancer Research Institute are currently investigating the presence of biological markers involved in the detection, development and spread of breast cancer. The NBCRI funds postdoctoral scientists and postgraduate researchers and provides financial support for the running of the research laboratory.   ENDS

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

For the sixth year in a row, an NUI Galway School of Nursing and Midwifery student has won first prize in the prestigious national NUI Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships Awards. This competition is open to all the NUI universities and the award is based on student’s results from the final degree examinations in Nursing or Midwifery.  NUI Galway students were first awarded the top prize in 2006 and since then students from the School of Nursing and Midwifery have been presented with the first prize in the awards every year. This year Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships awarded first prize awards to Ester Afolalu and Laura Coyne, both General Nursing students and from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Second prize was awarded to NUI Galway Midwifery student, Siobhan Eccles from Ennis, Co. Clare.  Professor Kathy Murphy, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, said: “Winning again this year is yet another great achievement for the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Our students have now got first place each year for the past six years, that's a remarkable achievement and demonstrates the high calibre of NUI Galway students.” NUI Galway’s Professor Declan Devane, Ireland’s first Professor of Midwifery, commented, “I am delighted for Siobhan and her colleagues on their wonderful achievement. It is fitting recognition to the quality of their work and to the quality of the nursing and midwifery education at NUI Galway. I have no doubt that they will each make a substantial contribution to the quality of health care.”   -Ends-

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, T.D., recently presented the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Gold Medals to the international human rights scholar Professor William Schabas and engineer Professor John O’Scanlan in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the Social Sciences and the Engineering Sciences. The RIA Medals acclaim Ireland’s foremost contributors to the world of learning and science. The Gold Medals are awarded to two outstanding academics each year and are recognised as a truly national expression of celebration for scholarly achievement. The medals are sponsored by The Higher Education Authority and The Irish Independent. In presenting the medals, Minister Quinn said, “The Academy Gold Medals acclaim Ireland’s foremost contributors to the world of learning and science. The work of this year’s recipients illustrates Ireland’s high standing in the world of learning.” Professor William Schabas, Chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, is one of the leading scholars in the field of international criminal law. His work is closely linked with a range of international judicial institutions including, the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Court (ICC). His writings are regularly cited by international courts and tribunals, including the ICC and the European Court of Human Rights. Professor Schabas’ seminal book on the Genocide Convention was cited in the opinions of the ICC in the 2007 Bosnia v. Serbia judgement and clearly influenced the thinking of the court as a whole. Professor John O’Scanlan, UCD, is widely recognised as one of the leading international living circuit theorists who has made a fundamental contribution to the field of electronic engineering, including electronic circuit and system design, digital circuits and computing, communications and signal processing. Professor Scanlan has many awards and distinctions, a former President of the Royal Irish Academy (1993-1996); he is also a life fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is a recipient of the Golden Jubilee Medal of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society. Welcoming this award NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I extend warmest congratulations to our colleague, Professor Schabas on receiving this wonderful distinction from the RIA.  This accolade will undoubtedly add lustre to his international academic standing, as well as underscore this University’s reputation as a centre of world-class research and teaching.”    -ENDS-

Friday, 16 December 2011

GMIT AND NUI GALWAY LAUNCH CODE NINJA STUDENT COMPETITION A new competition ‘Code Ninja’ has been launched for students at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) and NUI Galway. Code Ninja is an App development competition, designed to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own tech ideas. The competition is open to all disciplines of students in NUI Galway and GMIT, either individuals or groups, who want to build a web or mobile App. Students who enter the competition will get all the skills required to build their own App, including training, workshops, design, web and mobile App building, coding with feedback and mentoring from App experts. A range of prizes includes an iPad, iPod Touch and cash awards. Code Ninja will foster students’ spirit of creativity and enable them to cultivate their own technology ideas. According to Dr Jim Duggan, NUI Galway, and Dr Sean Duignan, GMIT, “This is a unique opportunity for NUI Galway and GMIT students from any discipline to work on the leading edge of web technology. Students from any discipline can learn new skills, network with the technology entrepreneurs and academic experts with a view to fostering a culture of creativity, excitement as well as adding value to their curriculum vitae.”  Code Ninja demonstrates how NUI Galway and GMIT are fostering a culture of innovation across their respective campuses and this is supported by the local business community. Galway technology entrepreneurs Mike FitzGerald, CEO, OnepageCRM and Paul Killoran, CEO of Starlight.ie, agree that this is an opportunity which sows a seed to build on the blossoming tech start up culture that exists in Galway whilst building links with NUI Galway, GMIT and the Galway tech scene.  Code Ninja is supported by the Bright Ideas Initiative at NUI Galway, GMIT, ExOrdo for Academics and OnepageCRM. More information about the competition Code Ninja is available at http://codeninja.ie/   -ends-

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

NUI Galway law lecturer, Donncha O’Connell, has been appointed by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, TD, to the new Legal Aid Board. Announcing the membership of the new Board yesterday, Mr Shatter said: “I am delighted to announce this new Legal Aid Board.  In the last four years there has been a considerable increase in demand for legal services and this coincides with the downturn in the economy.  Evidence internationally has pointed towards a greater need for access to legal services in areas such as family law, debt and employment during times of economic stress and Ireland appears no different in this regard.  This has inevitably created huge pressures for the Board and its capacity to deliver legal services within a reasonable period of time.  There are many challenges ahead for this new Board, including piloting, early in 2012, a somewhat different approach to the provision of legal services by way of an attempt to ensure that every applicant for legal aid gets an appointment within a period of three or four weeks. In November of this year, I also announced the formal integration of the Family Mediation Service with the Legal Aid Board and the functions of the Legal Aid Board have now been extended under Part 16 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act to include a family mediation service.  The Board is also, in taking a range of other measures, keeping all of its services under review with a view to ensuring that its resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.  I am confident that the new Board members will all bring their considerable skills and expertise to the work of the Legal Aid Board and that their presence on the Board will ensure that it continues to operate as innovatively, efficiently and effectively as it has always done, in what is, a much more difficult economic environment than at any time in its history.” O’Connell was the Dean of Law at NUI Galway from 2005-2008 and he continues to teach European Human Rights and Constitutional Law in the School of Law. He has extensive experience on European human rights bodies having served as the Irish member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights established by the EU Commission in 2002 and as the senior Irish member of FRALEX, the legal expert group that advised the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna. He spent the academic year 2009-2010 as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights LSE and is the editor of the Irish Human Rights Law Review published annually by Clarus Press. Donncha was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) from 1999-2002 and he has, in the past, been a board member of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd and Amnesty International-Ireland. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the London-based NGO, INTERIGHTS – The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Rights. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA), a project of FLAC.   ENDS

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

NUI Galway has embarked on a new initiative with Transition Year students from the Presentation Secondary School in Galway City. The students have devised a new e-Commerce module which is facilitated by their business teacher Eleanor Fogarty. The project involves developing an e-Marketing strategy for an illustrated children’s book called Willou Mac Wiggle and the Dive Dive Birds.  This children’s story was illustrated by Rebecca Kane, one of the Transition Year students in the Presentation School and written by Declan Clarke. Aimed at children between two and six years of age, Willou Mac Wiggle and the Dive Dive Birds has already been launched on iTunes as an e-book for the iPad, and is *available to buy for €3.99. Dr Ann Torres, Lecturer in Marketing with the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The MSc Strategic Marketing cultivates students’ practical skills through the application of theory to real business situations, such as developing an e-marketing strategy for an e-book. It is this link between practice and theory that enhances the MSc. students’ capability to perform as an effective marketer. Further, NUI Galway’s involvement with the Presentation Secondary School is a valuable gateway in which secondary school students may gain an insight into the opportunities associated with third-level education.” Introducing the students to e-Commerce is essential as the world moves towards buying and selling online. Part of the Transition Year students’ project will be to devise an e-marketing campaign to promote the book and to expand the network of interest through Facebook. The students will gain a real-life understanding of the launch of the new book which will be an extremely valuable experience for them.   -ENDS-

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of the Republic of Ireland’s first Professor of Midwifery. Professor Declan Devane, himself a midwife, is based at NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. With approximately 700 students, the School is at the forefront of nursing and midwifery education and research in Ireland. Over his 22-year career in nursing and midwifery, Professor Devane has established an international reputation as a leading researcher and scholar in his areas of expertise, which include the implementation and evaluation of models of maternity care and on methods of assessment of fetal wellbeing. While other institutions have Chairs in nursing and midwifery, this is the first university appointment of a Chair in Midwifery. This focus on the profession of midwifery reflects trends internationally that recognise the unique and important contribution midwifery makes to high quality maternity services. Professor Devane has taken up the Chair in Midwifery at a time when over 75,000 babies are born every year in Ireland. Commenting on his appointment, Professor Devane said that he was delighted and honoured to accept the new role: “My hope is that my appointment will enable me to work with those who seek a better service for childbearing women and their children. Most births take place against a backdrop of sub-optimal infrastructure, in large and aging hospitals with too few delivery suites. There are also concerns about operating theatres shared for childbirth and for other surgeries. This scenario is compacted by substantial understaffing of our maternity services in terms of both midwives and obstetricians, while our community maternity services are also terribly under resourced.” Commenting on the organisation of maternity services in Ireland, Professor Devane added: “Unlike some other areas of healthcare, there is no evidence to support that the centralisation of maternity services in large hospitals improves outcomes for women and their infants. On the contrary, there is substantial high-quality evidence demonstrating benefits for midwifery units in which the skills and expertise of midwives are used to their full potential. Common sense suggests, and scientific evidence demonstrates, that it doesn’t make clinical, social or economic sense for most women to give birth in large, centralised hospitals that are heaving at the seams. Yet, this is precisely what is happening. Midwives, obstetricians and GPs each have their place and their role in the provision of collaborative maternity care, and no one model of care, care-giver or birth setting should be advocated for all women. However, every woman should experience the best possible care from the most appropriate professional, chosen by her, to ensure the best outcomes for her and her baby. It is vital that we make these choices a reality for women. There is bound to be a lot of new challenges ahead but that’s part of the excitement of the job.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “Professor Devane has a proven record of excellence in teaching and research. Through his research work, his professional activities and his interest in developing international collaborations, Professor Devane will make a valuable contribution to the success of our School of Nursing and Midwifery, which has established a growing research reputation.” Professor Devane qualified as a nurse in Galway and as a midwife in Bristol and Gloucestershire, where he worked before returning to Ireland to work in the Rotunda, the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and in Trinity College Dublin. He is a member of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Expert Network of Research Advisors, a member of the Midwifery Committee of An Bord Altranais, and an Honorary Visiting Fellow of both the UK Cochrane Centre and the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital. Professor Devane is passionate about the care of children with serious illnesses, particularly those with life-limiting illness, and is a Director of the children’s cancer charity for the West, Hand in Hand (http://www.handinhand.ie). In 2009, combining fundraising activities for this charity with his love of scuba diving, he raised over €35,000 for charity and simultaneously set a Guinness World Record for the ‘Longest open saltwater SCUBA dive (cold water)’.   -ends-

Monday, 5 December 2011

Three research projects undertaken at NUI Galway were highlighted in the Health Research Board’s annual Picture of Health report. Launched recently by Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, the report communicates the findings of recently funded research to a general audience. Included in the document, from NUI Galway, is Dr Roisin Dwyer’s and Professor Michael Kerin’s work looking at breast cancer signals in the bloodstream, and Professor Larry Egan’s research into manipulating gut bacteria to help minimise radiation damage for cancer patients. Professor Egan spoke about his research at the launch event. Also featured in the report is research by NUI Galway’s Dr Liam Glynn. Chronically high blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to serious medical problems such as heart disease and stroke - so keeping blood pressure under control is an important public health issue. Yet only 25 - 40 per cent of patients who take anti-hypertensive drug treatment manage to achieve their blood pressure goals, and that figure has remained unchanged for decades. However, a HRB-funded Cochrane review study by Dr Liam Glynn has identified practices in community-based care that could help tackle the problem. The research analysed 72 randomised controlled trials in the published literature that looked at dealing with hypertension in the community-care setting. Overall, the review found that education aimed at patients or healthcare professionals does not appear to be effective - what works best is good organisation that sees patients regularly followed up and recalled for appointments. Other strategies for success encourage patients to monitor their own blood pressure or involve other health professionals such as nurses and pharmacists in blood pressure management in the community. “It has direct translation to everyday clinical practice,’ says Dr Glynn, a Senior Lecturer in General Practice at NUI Galway and GP in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. “We need to improve organisation in terms of diagnosing, treating and following up patients with hypertension; and that can include nurse-led care, the use of technology such as text messages to remind patients to take their medication or come to appointments and also getting patients more involved in the monitoring of their own illness.” The three research projects connected to NUI Galway are part of over 40 projects highlighted in the Health Research Board’s annual Picture of Health 2011 publication. -ends-