Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Barry McDermott, a PhD student with the Translational Medical Device Lab in NUI Galway, was awarded a prestigious Dobbin Atlantic Scholarship from the Ireland Canada University Foundation, provided with support from the Irish Government. The award aims to cultivate a new generation of academic links between Ireland and Atlantic Canada in areas including scientific and technological innovation. Barry’s scholarship to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia allowed him to work with the *Moyer Lab for Clinical Biomechanics and Rehabilitation* on the development of MRI derived computational models of knee osteoarthritis. This work will feed into overall research conducted by Professor Moyer and her group into the development of clinically relevant biomarkers of osteoarthritis as well as therapeutic interventions designed to optimise joint health and reduce disease progression. This trip has opened a new set of academic links between NUI Galway and Dalhousie University in the area of Biomedical Engineering. The research collaboration between the Moyer Lab and NUI Galway, plans to refine and further extend the models, validate them with real patient data, apply machine learning techniques and ultimately be able to objectively use MRI images of arthritic knees to identify patients at risk, indicate patients who would benefit from surgery, and optimise physical activity for patients. The goal is to develop between the two universities a technology that will aid in preserving and keeping affected knees as healthy as possible for as long as possible. While in Canada, Barry developed a procedure to segment out the knee joint anatomies of normal and osteoarthritic patients from MRI images. These patients ranged in the severity and nature of the disease. The segmentation process involved using a computer to extract out tissues of interest from the MRI images which included the femur, the tibia, and the various cartilage layers. These segmented models had anatomically accurate 3D representations of the patient’s bone and cartilage tissues. At the same time an “ideal knee” was developed using computer aided design (CAD). This knee could be modified to flex or extend the joint, damage the cartilage, introduce abnormal rotation into the joint and to perform corrective surgery. The anatomically accurate models of real patient data were then used to modify the ideal knee to be a CAD model of the patient’s joint. This CAD model was then divided into smaller parts which then can have simulated physical forces applied and the outcome calculated using the computer. The applied forces mimicked joint loading under different conditions with the stress and strain on the joint calculated and visualised. Using these techniques, the stress and strain on a damaged joint can be assessed under a particular loading and it can be seen if the stress and strain reduces if a different pattern of loading is used or indeed if surgery is performed. The preliminary results generated correlated well to real world patients. Barry was also awarded Winner of ‘Best Paper: EMF Dosimetry - in silico tools and measurements’ at the first EMF-Med World Conference on Biomedical Applications of Electromagnetic Fields in Croatia last September. This was in relation to work on the development of 3D printable tissue mimicking materials and was in collaboration with Drs Anup Poudel and Manus Biggs in CÚRAM at NUI Galway and Dr Austin Coffey from WIT.  Supervised by Dr Emily Porter and Dr Martin O’Halloran from the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway, a cross disciplinary group that combines medicine, science and engineering to help advance medical technology in a wide variety of areas, Barry’s main project is focused on the development of a novel device for ambulance-based brain imaging, as a low-cost and reliable method to classify strokes as either ischaemic or haemorrhagic. However, his multidisciplinary background allows him to contribute to a range of medical device and related research as evidenced by his two recent awards. Speaking about his scholarship award, Barry McDermott, said: “I feel honoured to have received this scholarship and been given the chance to visit Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. My visit has given me the opportunity to initiate a unique collaboration between our two groups to develop innovative medical technologies, and to support a stronger understanding of orthopaedics for my future work at NUI Galway.” Martin O’Halloran, Director of the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway, said: “Barry is a truly stellar PhD student, with a unique background in both Pharmacy and Veterinary medicine. Having that varied academic background allows him to contribute to a variety of medtech projects, and this award is a testament to both his research excellence and ambition.” Barry McDermott is an Electronic and Computer Engineer, graduating from NUI Galway in 2016. He has a uniquely multidisciplinary background being also qualified as both a Veterinary Surgeon (MVB, UCD) and Pharmaceutical Chemist (B.Sc. (Pharm), TCD). For more information about the Translational Medical Device Lab, visit: www.tmdlab.ie and for more about the Ireland Canada University Foundation, visit: http://www.icuf.ie/  -Ends-

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Community partners and NUI Galway researchers working together to improve the health of people living with chronic fatigue syndrome, aphasia and cardiac rehabilitation A new education and training initiative, the Community Engaged Scholars Programme (CES-P), is taking place at NUI Galway. The aim of the CES-P is to support the development of partnerships between researchers and community organisations interested in conducting research together that aims to improve the health of their community and that is driven by public and patient involvement (PPI) principles. Best summarised by the slogan Nothing about us, without us, PPI means that the voice of the public or patient guides and influences all stages of research, and that those likely to benefit from new treatments or services arising from research are involved in the decision-making that leads to their development. The CES-P was developed initially at the Medical University of South Carolina, international partners of the PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme. The programme is successfully delivered across a number of universities in the US and in Africa. Following a competitive selection process, three community-academic partnerships were recently chosen by a panel of academics, with input from public reviewers, to be part of the first roll-out of the CES-P in Ireland. The three partnerships will complete an intensive training programme over the coming months, a mixture of face-to-face workshops and online learning. Each partnership will then co-design and co-produce research addressing an agreed research question that is of interest to both the community and the researchers. The partners will then work together to share the research results with the public, as well as with researchers, health care professionals and policy makers. In the longer term, the partners will work together to apply for further research funding and to continue to work together to improve the health of the relevant community. The three successful partnerships represent very different communities and divergent academic backgrounds and there is great breadth in the health conditions of interest. One group is focused on Chronic Fatigue Syndome (CFS), with the Irish CFS Association represented by Orla NíChomhraí and Tom Kindlon, partnering with Dr John Cullinan, a health economist at NUI Galway who is already working with EU colleagues in the area of CFS. This partnership is interested in gathering data related to the impact and burden of CFS for Irish people living with the condition. Dr John Cullinan says: “For far too long the voices and experiences of Irish CFS patients have been missing from research and policy”,while Orla NíChomhraí adds:“This collaboration is an attempt to put the patient perspective front and centre in developing evidence that helps improve the lives of those living with ME.” Dr Ruth McMenamin, a lecturer in speech and language therapy at NUI Galway has many years’ experience of collaborating with people with aphasia (aphasia is an acquired language disorder experienced by up to one-third of the stroke population) in teaching, research and practice. The Irish Heart and Stroke Foundation, represented by Martina Greene and the Ballinasloe Stroke Support group are partnering with Ruth on the CES-P programme and together with people with aphasia they will co-design and co-implement research to raise awareness of aphasia. Ruth McMenamin and Martina Greene point out that: “People living with aphasia are one of the most marginalised groups in our communities. Our goal is to work with people living with stroke and aphasia to promote inclusion through a targeted national aphasia awareness campaign. We want to make Ireland an ‘aphasia friendly’ country.”  The third successful partnership sees Croí, represented by Irene Gibson and Denise Dunne, partnering with a group of health psychologists, led by Dr Oonagh Meade from NUI Galway. This partnership is interested in exploring the potential of delivering cardiac rehabilitation programmes electronically (via web sites, videos etc.) rather than the traditional face-to-face rehabilitation programmes.   Irene Gibson from Croí, says: “We are delighted to be part of this innovative program which will give the public and those affected by cardiovascular disease the opportunity to have their voice heard and be actively engaged in driving areas of research that are vital to them. As a heart and stoke charity our work is driven by the needs of the communities we serve and therefore being part of this initiative is a perfect fit. We believe that by adopting this participatory approach to research there is a real potential to influence policy and change how we deliver prevention in Ireland for the better.” For more information about the PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme, visit:   https://www.nuigalway.ie/ppi/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

NUI Galway today (11 June) conferred degrees on over 300 students. Among that number, over 40 were conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The largest cohort of students to graduate was 176 future doctors who received their Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) degree. Thirteen Final Medical Medals were presented to eleven graduates for their outstanding academic performance. Every year the University presents the medals to students who receive the highest grade in each subject area. Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate each of today’s graduates. We in NUI Galway are determined that this University will play its full part in developing graduates who will make a real difference in the world and for the world, and will shape the future needs of our society.” International students were well represented at the ceremony, with the University welcoming graduates from, among other countries, Malaysia, Canada, Singapore, UK, USA, India, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Egypt, who along with students from across Ireland received Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, and PhDs. -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

: Scientists from the Applied Optics group in the School of Physics at NUI Galway have been selected by the European Space Agency to carry out a study to detect gravitational waves from many different kinds of sources, such as massive stars rotating each other, or black holes spiralling into each other, as part of the space mission LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna). The European Space Agency (ESA) contemplates the possibility to launch in 2034 three spacecraft in the LISA mission, the first space-based gravitational wave observatory. Selected to be ESA’s third large-class mission, LISA will address the science theme of the Gravitational Universe. The purpose is to detect ‘gravitational waves’, which are tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time. To do this, the three spacecraft will be placed 2.5 million kilometres apart from each other in a triangular formation, following Earth in its orbit around the Sun to detect tiny changes in their separations. The size of the changes is 1 ‘pico-meter’, which is 100 times smaller than an atom. Optical techniques are required to achieve this incredible precision, and the European Space Agency has contracted scientists from the Applied Optics group in the School of Physics at NUI Galway to carry out a study in order to ensure that such precision is indeed feasible. This follows on from the scientists’ recent successful completion of an ESA project to build a prototype Active Optics system for future Space Telescopes. Each of the three spacecraft will carry two telescopes, one of which is used to transmit a laser beam to another LISA spacecraft, and one to receive a laser beam. The combined beams give rise to a pattern of bright and dark lines. Gravitational waves cause tiny changes in the spacecraft separation, and these lead to shifts in the pattern which can be detected.  The ground-based LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational – Wave Observatory) experiment has already detected gravitational waves due to coalescing black holes, with the experiment designers winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. However, these detections are very difficult on the ground due to interference from vibrations ranging from earth tremors to distant trucks. In space, LISA will be sensitive to many more sources of gravitational waves and will open up a whole new type of astronomy. Dr Nicholas Devaney and Dr Fiona Kenny from the Applied Optics Group in the School of Physics at NUI Galway are writing software to precisely calculate the transmission of light between the LISA spacecraft’s. They will include the optical design of the telescopes and determine the effect of errors in the telescope optics. It is vital for the European Space Agency to know how the optics have to be made in order to be able to detect gravitational waves. This will determine the final telescope design and have a major impact on the mission.  Speaking about the study Dr Nicholas Devaney from NUI Galway, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Irish scientists to be involved in this exciting mission. It recognises the expertise of NUI Galway scientists in the field of space optics and we plan to build on this work to expand Galway activities in this area.” The NUI Galway gravitational wave spacecraft study is being carried out under a programme of and funded for by the European Space Agency. For more information about LISA, visit: http://sci.esa.int/lisa/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Inniu (11 Meitheamh) bhronn OÉ Gaillimh céimeanna ar bhreis is 300 mac léinn. Ina measc siúd, bhí 40 duine ar bronnadh céimeanna Dochtúireachta Fealsúnachta (PhD) orthu. Grúpa de 176 ábhar dochtúra an grúpa mac léinn ba mhó a bhain amach Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Leigheas, Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Mháinliacht agus Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Chnáimhseachas (MB, BCh, BAO). Bronnadh trí bhonn déag don Bhliain Deiridh Leighis ar aon mhac léinn déag as a fheabhas a d'éirigh leo go hacadúil. Bronnann an Ollscoil na boinn ar na mic léinn a fhaigheann an grád is airde i ngach réimse ábhair gach bliain. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, ag an searmanas: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, tréaslaím le gach duine agaibh. Táimidne in OÉ Gaillimh diongbháilte de go ndéanfaidh an Ollscoil seo a cion féin le céimithe a oiliúint a fhágfaidh a lorg ar an domhan trí chéile, agus a bheidh ábalta freastal ar riachtanais ár sochaí amach anseo.” Bhí neart mac léinn idirnáisiúnta ag an searmanas, agus chuir an Ollscoil fáilte chroíúil roimh na céimithe sin ón Malaeisia, Ceanada, Singeapór, an Ríocht Aontaithe, Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá, an India, an Araib Shádach, an Indinéis agus an Éigipt, i measc tíortha eile, mar aon le mic léinn as gach cearn den tír seo ar bronnadh Dioplómaí, Céimeanna, Máistreachtaí, agus PhDanna orthu. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

NUI Galway is holding a two-day public consultation event to generate ideas for the future of the Nuns’ Island area of the city. The University, in partnership with Galway City Council, is developing a masterplan to optimise the use of this underutilised city centre space through the appropriate mix of redevelopment and enhancement of public realm spaces. The project, which commenced earlier this year, has so far involved workshops with residents, the University community, discussions with a range of local organisations and an online consultation.  The ideas generated to date will be displayed in the University’s O’Donoghue Centre from 21-22 June, with members of the public invited to view exhibits and give their feedback.  The masterplan is being developed by a team of global experts: architecture firm BDP, supported by property advisor Colliers International and engineering business AECOM. In the coming weeks, the University is also engaging with regional development organisations, alumni and public officials to receive a wide range of perspectives on the options to develop the area.  Speaking today President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We are passionate about developing our resources in Nuns’ Island for the public good. This month, as part of our ongoing initiative with Galway City Council, we’re inviting members of the public to evaluate ideas that have emerged to date and add their perspective to the process.  Nuns’ Island is an important historic, social and cultural part of our city and we want to support its enhancement through a masterplaning initiative that addresses the needs of the city and region, through a mix of redevelopment and enrichment of public spaces. This can only be done with the input of our communities. We wish to be an exemplar of planning for the public good, and we hope to hear the views of as many people and organisations as possible over the course of this two-day public consultation event.” Members of the public have the opportunity to view ideas to date and engage in discussion with representatives of the University and BDP at NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre, located on the University’s South Campus on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd of June from 10am to 3pm The Masterplan will be developed in partnership with Galway City Council as part of the commitments in Policy 5.1 of the Galway City Council Development Plan 2017-2023. -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

NUI Galway will host the 23rd Annual Health Promotion Conference on Thursday, 13 June, and will focus on ‘Building a Healthy Ireland: Promoting Health and Wellbeing in Educational Settings’. The conference is co-hosted by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Skills, the Health Service Executive, and the Association of Health Promotion Ireland. The event aims to bring together policymakers, researchers and practitioners to critically discuss current and future directions for health and wellbeing in education. The conference programme comprises a mix of presentations, plenary lectures, workshops, and panel discussions. This event provides a platform for international and national experts to network and collaborate on implementation developments and challenges in relation to research, policy and practice developments for health and wellbeing in educational settings. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, and Professor Margaret Barry, Global President of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education, will deliver the opening addresses for this event. International and national keynote addresses will include: Dr Eileen Scott, NHS Health Scotland; Anette Schulz, Schools for Health Europe Network; Orla McGowan, HSE Health and Wellbeing; and Deirdre McHugh, National Educational Psychological Service. Anette Schulz, Schools for Health Europe Manager, commented: “Healthy life skills are not only taught in the family but in the person’s everyday life. In the effort to promote health and well-being among children and young people schools therefore play a vital role. Schools for Health in Europe Network Foundation (SHE) are delighted to be invited to the annual conference on health promotion in Ireland. This gives us the opportunity not only to highlight the importance of working with health and well-being in schools but also to share our perspectives on school health promotion.” Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Head of the Discipline of Health Promotion at NUI Galway and Conference Chair, said: “We are very excited to welcome colleagues from all over Ireland and abroad to examine the theory, evidence-base and implementation of health promotion in educational settings. This is a crticial point in history of health promotion in education as we move towards a new European Strategy and the roll-out of the well-being framework in Irish schools. It is vital to ensure that these developments are built on our existing knowledge of what works for children and young people. We are bringing together experts from more than 20 institutes of higher education with those working in central government, NGOs and the community sector to share their learning and to debate, network and contribute to our shared future.” For further information on the conference and programme details, visit https://nuigalwayhprc.clr.events/event/127927. -Ends-

Monday, 10 June 2019

 Update from NUI Galway on the Performance of Ireland’s Ocean Economy NUI Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has released its latest update on the performance of Ireland’s Ocean Economy. The latest figures have been announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD at the Annual Ocean Wealth Summit in Cork today (10, June 2019). The 2019 Summit will see national and global leaders discuss the health of our oceans. This includes senior Government and UN representatives from island states sharing experiences on oceans’ health and climate change. Coinciding with the Our Ocean Wealth Summit and the Government’s Annual Review of its Integrated Marine Plan – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, the report presents a complete and comparable profile across thirteen marine related industries in Ireland. The update shows that Ireland’s ocean economy has a turnover of €6.2 billion, with a direct economic contribution, as measured by gross added value (GVA), of €2.2 billion or 1.1% of gross domestic product (GDP). Taking into account indirect GVA generated from ocean related activity in Ireland total GVA is €4.2 billion, representing 2% of GDP. Dr Stephen Hynes, co-author of the report and Director of SEMRU based at the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway, has advised the Government that: “The latest figures indicate that Ireland’s ocean economy continues to see growth across both established and emerging marine industries. We expect the Government’s 2020 target will be exceeded next year, and the gap is narrowing in terms of the Government’s ambitious 2030 target.” SEMRU categorises Ireland’s ocean economy into two broad categories: Ireland’s Established Marine Industries – comprised of traditional marine sectors such as shipping, seafood, tourism in marine and coastal areas, offshore energy, marine manufacturing, and engineering and marine retail services – have an estimated turnover of €5.8 billion, and provide employment of 32,048 full time equivalents (FTEs). These segments of the ocean economy represent 93% of the total turnover and 94% of total employment. The top three sectors in terms of value and employment continue to be shipping, marine tourism and seafood. Ireland’s Emerging Marine Industries – comprised of marine renewables, marine biotechnology, advanced marine products and services, and maritime commerce – have an estimated turnover of €459 million and provide employment to 2,084 FTEs representing 7% of the turnover and 6% of employment in Ireland’s ocean economy. Of the emerging industries, marine commerce and the marine biotechnology and bio-products industries experienced the largest increases in turnover and GVA in the 2016-2018 period. This year’s report also includes a socio-demographic profile of Ireland’s coastal economy and presents the values of a range of marine ecosystem services to Irish society. Dr Hynes highlighted: “Tracking marine economic activities, monitoring developments in our coastal economy and estimating the marine ecosystem service benefit values to Irish society promotes more informed maritime planning and more effective marine policy formation.” The latest ocean economy report is funded by the Marine Institute through its Marine Research Programme. Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, commented: “Ireland is one of the few countries that has access to this regularly updated marine economic data, with trends now spanning over 10 years. These independent data and trends published by NUI Galway underpin the vision set out by the Government in Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth whereby Ireland’s vast marine territory is harnessed in a sustainable manner and is recognised as an integral element of Ireland’s overall economy, generating benefits for Irish citizens and supported by integrated policy, planning and regulation.” Commenting on the report, Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway stated: “With the uncertainty being generated by Brexit, our Ocean Wealth has never been more important to our economic prosperity. The figures published by SEMRU clearly demonstrate the importance and impact of targeted investment and research in developing a sustainable ocean economy here in Ireland.” To read the full report, see: http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/researchsites/semru/files/Irelands-Ocean-Economy-Report_for-web.pdf -Ends-

Monday, 10 June 2019

The 9th UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre Biennial conference will focus on the changing nature and meaning of family and its implications for policy and practice. The conference, entitled ‘Changing Families, Changing Policy, Changing Practice: Family Support Now and in the Future’, will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway from 13-14 June. In the context of major global social, economic and technological change, the nature and meaning of family is in flux. In Ireland, recent constitutional changes in children’s rights, same-sex marriage, and divorce, for example, have implications for the experience of family life and what it means to be a family member as a parent, child, sibling, or grandparent.  Many of the repercussions of these changes for children’s and young people’s expectations of family life as well as for agencies delivering services to address emerging needs and responses have yet to be explored.     According to UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC) co-founder Dr John Canavan: “It is now time for a new Commission on the Family, 21 years after the original Commission report was published resulting in a range of significant policy and service developments. The intervening years have seen massive changes in families and affecting family life. While there has been many individual and sectoral policy and service responses, Irish society has not had the opportunity to reflect on what these changes mean and what their implications are now and into the future. A new Commission would be an opportunity to reassess the meaning and significance of family in Ireland, and to plan accordingly for the next 20 years.” Over the course of two-days, international speakers including academics and practitioners from Ireland, the UK, US and Australia will engage in debate on the changing forms of family life and the meaning of family and family relationships in particular contexts. The programme will feature a number of issues that are critical in current policy and practice including impact of technology on family dynamics; integration and migration, and family separation. In the context of austerity and social inclusion, a core focus will be on supports for families with particular needs and adversities including homelessness, addiction, and domestic violence.  The conference will also provide a forum for young people to present research conducted as part of the UCFRC Youth as Researchers Programme. Included are presentations on the use of social media, as well as research highlighting the benefits of an exercise and mindfulness programme delivered by a Garda Youth Diversion Project in Galway city. Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon who will be in attendance said: “This conference is a valuable opportunity to explore the changing face of families in Ireland and, very importantly, to hear directly from children about issues affecting them. I look forward to a robust and engaged conversation about change and how it affects children and their families. Some changes such as an increased focus on equality and diversity are very positive, and while they often require adjustments from the adults, for children they are less likely to cause a problem. Other changes such as homelessness or addiction are completely out of young people’s control and have the potential to cause serious and long-lasting damage. For more information and to register for the Conference, visit http://conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=588 -Ends-

Monday, 10 June 2019

NUI Galway team up with Mental Health Ireland for pioneering educational programme NUI Galway and Mental Health Ireland have teamed up to commence a first-of-its-kind Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health Promotion. An Open Evening for the course will take place on Wednesday, 12 June at 6pm at the University, followed by an official course launch the following day, Wednesday, 13 June, at 1pm during the annual Health Promotion Research Centre Conference. The Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health Promotion is designed for applicants from different sectors, such as mental health, health promotion, public health, primary care, education, nursing, social work, community work, who wish to develop knowledge, skills and competencies of mental health promotion and its implementation in practice. The part-time course aims to provide participants with professional education and training in the principles and practice of promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. The programme runs from September to the following May. The academic direction of the programme will be provided by Professor Margaret Barry, NUI Galway. Academics in the Discipline of Health Promotion, together with contributions from practitioners and those with lived experience in the specialist field of study, will deliver the lectures and workshops. Professor Barry commented: “We are delighted to partner with Mental Health Ireland in developing this unique postgraduate level programme in Mental Health Promotion. Good mental health is fundamental to population health and wellbeing and this outreach programme is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills needed to promote positive mental health across all ages in key settings such as the home, schools, community and health services. Together with a focus on current research, policy and practice, participants will acquire practical skills in implementing evidence-based interventions that will protect and promote good mental health. Employing a combination of online and face-to-face instruction, this part-time programme is designed for professionals working in different sectors who wish to incorporate mental health promotion into their work.” The course is a blended learning programme, with a combination of teaching techniques employed to support learning. It is a level 9 programme comprising of 30 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) points in total. Mental Health Ireland offers financial support through the Tony Leahy Scholarship fund for people with lived experience, who meet the eligibility criteria, to access this programme. For more information on the Tony Leahy Scholarship contact training@mentalhealthireland.ie. CEO of Mental Health Ireland Martin Rogan said: “NUI Galway is world leading in mental health promotion and we were proud to team up with them to develop the Postgraduate course launching in September. Mental Health Ireland supports deeply evidence based mental health promotion education available to all communities as the next stage in developing an impactful and sustainable conversation around mental health and wellbeing. This year, we named the Tony Leahy scholarship to remove barriers for individuals who use mental health services and their families, to embrace educational programmes and recovery.” For further Information on the course details contact Denise Glavin, Discipline of Health Promotion, NUI Galway at 091 493092, denise.glavin@nuigalway.ie or visit www.nuigalway.ie/hpr. -Ends-

Friday, 7 June 2019

More than 50 famous landmarks and buildings across the island of Ireland lit up blue this weekend (7-10 June) as part of the ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ initiative to celebrate our connection to the Atlantic Ocean and to mark World Oceans Day (8 June). The global day connects people worldwide in celebrating the ocean, its importance in our lives and how each of us can protect it, no matter where we live. In its inaugural year, the ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ campaign has had an incredible response with more than 50 landmarks and buildings across the country coming on board including Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports, a host of universities and colleges, State buildings (Iveagh House and Government Buildings) and lighthouses (Baily Lighthouse, Roche’s Point and The Great Light). Galway was a sea of blue with NUI Galway, Dunguaire Castle (Kinvara), Port of Galway, GMIT Letterfrack, Galway Atlantaquaria, Galway Bay Boat Tours, Seavite, Murphys Ice Cream and the Marine Institute all joining in the national initiative to ‘Go Atlantic Blue' to celebrate our sea. “NUI Galway is delighted to ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ for World Oceans Day,” said Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway. “Our location on the Atlantic seaboard is a defining and distinctive part of our University’s identity. We celebrate our presence along the Wild Atlantic Way – from Donegal through Mayo, Sligo, Galway and Clare. Our scholars and researchers work with the great resources of the Atlantic Ocean, across areas of academic endeavour as disparate as economics, health and wellbeing, energy engineering, marine biodiversity, earth science and climate change. Increasingly the awareness of the importance of our oceans will inform social policy.  We recognise the truly unique connection which Ireland and the people of the western seaboard, in particular, have with the Atlantic Ocean. NUI Galway is proud to ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ from the 7th to the 10th June 2019 as a signal of our commitment to sustainability." ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ is being spearheaded in Ireland by the Marine Institute-led AORA-CSA (Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Co-ordination & Support Action) against the backdrop of SeaFest 2019 (7-9 June) and Our Ocean Wealth Summit (9-10 June), both held in Cork this year. SeaFest is Ireland’s national maritime festival and Our Ocean Wealth Summit is Ireland’s flagship event for the marine sector, bringing together Irish and international organisations to create innovative and sustainable solutions to drive our Blue Economy. It’s the first year to ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ with the aim of raising awareness of the vital role that the Atlantic Ocean plays in the lives of Irish people, no matter how near or far they live from the Atlantic coastline. Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is our greatest natural resource and we see that most directly in Ireland with the vital importance that the Atlantic Ocean plays in our daily lives – from influencing the weather to facilitating our trade industry and from seafood to surfing off the coast.” Director of Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Co-ordination & Support Action, Dr Margaret Rae, said that the initiative gives people all around the country a chance to show their appreciation for the Atlantic Ocean. “Going Atlantic Blue is a way to draw attention to how each and every one of us experiences the Atlantic, what we love about our Ocean and how we can be that generation that makes a difference,” she said. Some of the Landmarks around Ireland Going Atlantic Blue ·         Dublin Airport ·         Shannon Airport ·         Cork Airport ·         King John’s Castle, Limerick ·         University of Limerick ·         CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork ·         St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh ·         National University of Ireland Galway ·         University College Cork ·         University College Dublin ·         Dublin City University ·         Trinity College Dublin ·          Iveagh House, Dublin (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) ·          Government Buildings (Merrion Square, Dublin)     ·         GMIT, Letterfrack ·         Galway Bay Boat Tours ·         Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, Galway ·         Galway Atlantaquaria, National Aquarium of Ireland ·         Tyndall National Institute, Cork ·         Port of Galway ·         Cork City Hall ·         Berwick fountain (Grand Parade), Cork ·         Bishop Lucey Park, Cork ·         St Peter’s, North Main Street, Cork ·         St. Luke’s, Cork ·         Roche’s Point Lighthouse, Cork ·         Baily Lighthouse, Dublin ·         The Great Light (Titanic Quarter, Belfast) ·         Port of Cork ·         National Maritime College of Ireland (NCMI) ·         Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) Centre, Cork ·         Marine Institute ·         One Albert Quay, Cork ·         The Capitol, Cork ·         Western Development Commission ·         XOCEAN, Co Louth ·         VOYA and VOYA Seaweed Baths, Co Sligo ·         Murphys Ice Cream, Nationwide ·         Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium, Co Kerry ·         Blennerville Windmill, Tralee, Co Kerry ·         Seavite ·         Science Foundation Ireland ·          Údarás na Gaeltachta ·          Carbery Group ·          Seal Rescue Ireland ·         Milish Bakery, Bundoran ·         Martina Hamilton Jewellery How you can ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ • Decorate your business/home/school with an Atlantic blue colour – add dark blue filters, fairy lights or blue light bulbs in outdoor lights • Dress in Atlantic blue clothing e.g. T-shirts, wear a blue wig or paint your face dark blue • Organise your own ‘Atlantic Blue’ themed event Share how you ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ • Take a photo or video of how you’ve gone Atlantic Blue and share it on social media platforms. Feel free to share what makes the Atlantic Ocean special to you • Tag your social media posts with #WorldOceansDay and #GoAtlanticBlue to link with a community of fellow ocean appreciators! • Tag AORA in your tweets (@AtlanticAll) and also tag @Seafest_ie and @OurOceanWealth if you’ve room! Ends.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

New course offerings to be launched include Online Business Diploma, Change Management, and Corporate Environmental Planning NUI Galway’s Adult Learners Information Evening will take place on Wednesday, 19 June, from 5-7pm in the Human Biology Building, on the University campus. New programmes to be launched at the event include an online Higher Diploma in Business Studies, a Diploma in Change Management and a new specialist Diploma in Corporate Environmental Planning. The event is the ideal opportunity to find out more about the extensive range of part-time, flexible-learning programmes on offer at the University.  The Career Development Centre at NUI Galway will also be on hand to offer free, one-to-one career consultations on a first come, first served basis at the event. “This year marks a significant milestone for the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development as we celebrate 50 years of adult learning at the University,” explains Centre Director, Nuala McGuinn.  “From its early years of Extra-Mural Education to today’s expansive array of part-time courses offered as standalone modules or full award options at Certificate, Diploma, Degree and Masters level, there is no shortage of courses to choose from.  We are immensely proud of our work which meets individual and company skills needs of productivity and competitiveness and of the University’s long-standing commitment to reaching beyond the campus and engaging with communities, organisations and individuals who might otherwise face barriers to university education.” Students will meet representatives from over 40 part-time programmes which will be showcased at the event, these include subject areas of: Business and Management, Community Education, Adult Training & Education Studies, Early Childhood Studies, Languages, Information Technology, Health Promotion, Pre-University Courses, and Science and Technology programmes. “Our courses are designed for those in employment who wish to upskill for professional and personal development reasons, and for those seeking employment who may require guidance on future career pathways from our experienced careers advisory team”, explains Nuala McGuinn. Among the new programmes to be launched on the night is the online Higher Diploma in Business Studies commencing September 2019. This two-year, part-time course is designed to provide non-business graduates with a well-rounded understanding of business.  It provides training in the fundamental skills of business administration, which enables graduates to play an active role in the development and management of business enterprises. Working in collaboration with Skillnet Ireland’s Learning Network - Next Level Skillnet, a new Specialist Diploma in Corporate Environmental Planning has just been launched. This innovative programme will concentrate on resource efficiency and environmental improvement opportunities and has been developed in response to industry demand.  It will be delivered part-time over one year. “We are delighted to partner with Next Level Skillnet”, explains Dr Niamh Nolan, Flexible Programmes Development Officer at NUI Galway. “The course offers a strategic focus on environmental planning and management in practice and is specifically geared towards career advancement in environmental policy and leadership enabling students to strengthen their capacities as efficient environmental managers and effective environmental leaders in their organisations.” Another new programme to be offered for September 2019 is a one-year, part-time Diploma in Change Management which is targeted at leaders, managers, administrators, and coordinators involved in organisational change within public or private sector organisations.  “The course emphasises the development of skills, competencies and team-building around three modules of strategic planning and implementation, leading others; and self-management”, highlights Nuala McGuinn, and provides candidates with the skills to implement strategic plans within their areas of organisational responsibility. Information on Springboard+ courses offering in excess of 80 government funded places on our Science and Technology, Adult Learning and Development and Business programmes for employed and unemployed candidates will be available on the night.  Interest in these courses has grown steadily over the past number of years as a direct result of industry requiring increasing skills in these areas. For further information on this event and to register your interest, see www.nuigalway.ie/learnwithoutlimits or call 091 494066 to speak with a programme coordinator, or visit the Centre’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nuigalway.adulted. -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Announcement was made by Ministers Humphreys and Halligan today Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced the six finalists in the SFI Future Innovator Prize competition. NUI Galway are among the six finalists who were selected following a rigorous and highly competitive process overseen by an international expert review panel. The six teams aim to address a number of societal challenges through the development of novel, potentially disruptive, technologies. A novel aspect of the programme is the requirement for a Societal Impact Champion to be part of the leadership team. The key role of this champion is to provide a strong societal perspective for the team as they develop their solution. The NUI Galway project will focus on the ‘Reducing the Burden of Chronic Pain’ challenge area. The project, ‘A novel hydrogel to address chronic pain in Irish patients’, is being carried out by a team which includes: Dr Alison Liddy, Biomedical Engineer and Chemist, NUI Galway; Dr Martin O'Halloran, Senior Lecturer in Medical Electronics, NUI Galway; and Dr Chris Maharaj, Consultant Anaesthetist and Pain Specialist, University Hospital Galway. An overall winning team will be announced in December and will receive a prize award of €1 million, providing the opportunity to deploy an innovative solution with potential to deliver significant impact to Irish society. Congratulating the shortlisted teams, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “On behalf of the Government, I want to congratulate the six teams who have made it to the second round of the Future Innovator Prize competition. We launched the initiative last year to encourage bright minds across the country to work together to identify major challenges facing Ireland’s society, and to propose creative solutions. It is very exciting to see so many innovative ideas coming through and I look forward to seeing their ideas develop further over the coming months.” Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said: “It is heartening to see the excellent standard of the six teams who have progressed to the second round of the SFI Future Innovator Prize competition. Their passion for their fields reflects their dedication to improving Ireland’s economy and society through research, collaboration and inventiveness. I am confident that they will continue to impress us as the competition goes on.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “I congratulate the six finalists on making it to the next stage of the SFI Future Innovator Prize competition. This programme by its very design, is highly competitive and seeks to fund excellent research that aims to produce a tangible impact for society. Proceeding to this phase of the programme is a great achievement, and the motivation of the teams demonstrates the appetite and capacity of the Irish research community to help contribute to solving major national and global challenges. Congratulations to each team on their hard work and dedication.” The SFI Future Innovator Prize, funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland, is part of an overall government plan to cultivate challenge-based funding in Ireland. Challenge-based funding is a solution focused approach to funding research that uses prizes and other incentives to direct innovation activities at specific problems. The SFI Future Innovator Prize challenges the country’s best and brightest unconventional thinkers and innovators to create novel, potentially disruptive technologies in collaboration with societal stakeholders and end-users.  The programme aligns with the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland initiative, beginning to prepare for jobs of the future now through ensuring that our economy is well positioned to tackle obstacles and continue transforming for the better. The competing teams are led by academic researchers and a “Societal Impact Champion” drawn from a range of disciplines and stakeholder groups such as industry and civil society in an effort to support convergent and collaborative problem-solving. Competing teams come from University College Dublin (UCD), Dublin City University (DCU), NUI Galway, University College Cork (UCC), and Tyndall National Institute (TNI), with involvement of a number of national agencies, hospitals and world leading SFI Research Centres. The challenge areas and issues to be addressed by the other five finalists are as follows: Challenge Area: Reducing the Burden of Sepsis Dr Elaine Spain (Analytical Chemistry, DCU); Dr Kellie Adamson (Diagnostics and Therapeutics and Biomaterials Science, DCU); Professor Gerald Curley, (Sepsis Lead, RCSI Network of Hospitals, Beaumont Hospital) Project - SepTec: Improving Outcomes for Sepsis Patients Challenge Area: Harnessing Gene Editing to Treat Rare Diseases such as Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) Professor Wenxin Wang, Dr Irene-Lara Sáez and Jonathan O’Keeffe-Ahern (Charles Institute of Dermatology, UCD); Dr Nan Zhang (Mechanical and Materials Engineering, UCD); Dr Sinead Hickey (Research Manager, DEBRA Ireland) Project - A disruptive, non‐viral gene editing platform technology for treating genetic conditions Challenge Area: Enabling Next Generation Biological Imaging        Professor Dominic Zerulla (Physics and Plasmonics, UCD); Dr Dimitri Scholz (Biology and Director of the Conway Imaging facilities, UCD); Peter Doyle (consulting the European Commission with the Brussels Photonics Team on strategic innovation and business development)        Project - Real‐time imaging of nanoscale biological processes via plasmonically enabled nanopixel arrays Challenge Area: Enabling Better Breast Cancer Diagnosis Dr Eric Moore (Analytical Chemistry, TNI/UCC); Martin O'Sullivan (Lead Surgeon, BreastCheck Southern Unit and UCC); Liosa O'Sullivan (Patient Advocate) Project - Development of a technology for clinicians to improve the breast cancer diagnostic pathway through real time point of care detection of breast disease.   Challenge Area: Minimising Hospital Waiting-lists and Optimising Healthcare Capacity Professor Barry O'Sullivan and Helmut Simonis (School of Computer Science and Insight Centre for Data Analytics, University College Cork); Dr Jane Bourke (Economics, Technology Adoption and Health Care Innovation, University College Cork); Prof Martin Curley (Director, HSE Digital Academy) Project - An artificial intelligence and data analytics system for minimising hospital waiting-lists and optimising healthcare capacity in Ireland -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

 Freyja Haraldsdottir, Co-Founder, TABU Iceland to deliver keynote address The world’s largest Disability Law Summer School focusing on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will take place in NUI Galway from 17-21 June. This is the 11th International Disability Law Summer School to be hosted by the University’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the focus for 2019 is ‘Persons with Disabilities and the Right to Family Life’. Professor Eilionóir Flynn, Director of Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “In this summer school we interpret ‘family’ broadly – to include our families of origin, families of choice, the communities where we feel we belong. Disabled people have often been denied rights to family life – including the right to marry and form a family, the right to decide freely on the number and spacing of their children, and the rights to privacy and independence with respect to family life. This year’s summer school will explore these issues with a particular focus on how disabled people and members of the LGBTQI community can learn from each other’s work in securing rights to family life.” Over 210 delegates from over 50 countries are registered to attend the Summer School, including persons with disabilities, civil society groups, as well as disability activists, feminist activists, LGBTQI activists, older people’s advocates, children’s rights activists, adopted persons, reproductive justice advocates, migrants and refugees, and ethnic minorities, including members of the traveller and Roma communities, lawyers, policy makers and policy analysts. The speakers will include academics, practitioners, activists, members of different UN agencies and policy makers from around the world. Many of the speakers have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the UN Convention. Our keynote speaker,Freyja Haraldsdottir, recently won her legal challenge in the Icelandic courts establishing disability discrimination against her as a prospective foster parent and she will share her lived experience. The Co-Director of the Summer School, Dr Catriona Moloney, said: “The effect of discrimination on the basis of disability in the lives of families continues to have devastating consequences for the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for adults and children who are often denied their rights in the area of family life. The School will explore creative advocacy to advance the right to family life from around the world, informed by the experiences of front-line advocates from social movements, academia, NGOs, policymakers and other stakeholders with different forms of expertise. The purpose of the school is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to translate the CRPD into meaningful reform for persons with disabilities. Our aim is to spur participants to think in a more inclusive way about the identities and contexts of constituencies who face barriers in exercising their right to family life and how we can ensure protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, not just in terms of antidiscrimination measures, but also in terms of policies that promote human rights across a range of different environments and contexts.” Registration for the Summer School is still open but very limited number of spaces available. Further information is available at: https://www.nuigalway.ie/centre-disability-law-policy/internationaldisabilitylawsummerschool/ or contact Joanna.Forde@nuigalway.ie or 086 4181673.  Participant accessibility, physical or communicational, requests and enquiries are welcomed. -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies will host the Third Galway Conference of Irish Studies from 7-8 June. With the national and international crises of home, this conference, “What is it to Dwell?”: Home(s) in Irish Studies, will address the questions, what is home?  What does it mean to be ‘at home’? How has Irish Studies historically engaged with conceptions of home and how might the discipline deal with changing definitions of home in the future? This multi-disciplinary conference has attracted scholars from around the world who will share their research, generating new conversations that address a broad and diverse range of perspectives on ‘home’, particularly in the Irish context.  The presenters will explore concepts of ‘home’, including representations of home in history, Irish music, poetry and visual culture.  As well as these topics, presentations will engage with some of the challenges facing us when we think about the future of ‘home’ in Ireland and elsewhere. Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin of NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies said: “This is a really exciting conference and its theme has important resonances in today’s political and cultural climate. Addressing the question of home(s) and the fluidity and fixity of how we think, respond and represent those themes provides a wonderful opportunity for us all to reflect on these issues. The range of panel topics and the excellent keynote speakers invited makes for an invigorating weekend ahead. I would encourage people to attend.” On Friday, 7 June, Dr Sindy Joyce will deliver the plenary address, titled, ‘Mincéirí Cena: Travellers and Mobile Spaces, Home as a Place, Space and Mobility’. Dr Joyce is a human rights activist and recent graduate of University of Limerick. In her PhD she interviewed young Travellers living in Galway and analysed their experiences of integration with the settled community. In April 2019, President Michael D Higgins invited Sindy to join the Council of State. As part of the conference, the University will also launch Nótaí/Notes Music and Ireland, special issue of Éire-Ireland: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Irish Studies, on Friday, 7 June, at 6.30pm, at the Bridge Room in the Hardiman Building, NUI Galway. This volume contributes to the widening critical scholarship in Irish music and importantly, the breadth of approaches and topics presented in this volume speak to the richness of discourse within Irish Studies on the matter of music. The volume is edited by Verena Commins and Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, both lecturers based at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. On Saturday, 8 June, Gráinne O’Toole from Skein Press will launch Between Two Worlds and introduce guest speakers Melatu Uche Okorie and Oein de Bhairduin. This event is in conjunction with Charlie Byrne’s Book Shop, Middle Street, Galway.  For full conference details visit https://gcis2019.wordpress.com/ or email gcis2019@gmail.com for further information. -Ends-

Friday, 31 May 2019

NUI Galway in partnership with the HEA and Local Enterprise Office Mayo recently launched the Ideas Academy. The Academy is a new summer camp for second level students in senior cycle who want to create ideas that enhance the quality of life, and reimagine how ordinary problems can be solved in extraordinary ways.  The one-week free summer camps will focus on developing the entrepreneurial and innovation mindset of participants experientially using tools including Lego Serious Play (LSP), design thinking and the lean canvas. The camp will be a positive environment for young entrepreneurs to develop, test and collaborate. The initiative is a cross campus partnership of LaunchPad, the student enterprise hub at NUI Galway, BioInnovate Ireland, the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and the Discipline of Surgery. External partners are the Higher Education Authority and Mayo Local Enterprise Office. The camps will run daily from 9:30am-3:30pm. The Ideas Academy Ballina will run from the 4-7 June in the Ballina Manor Hotel, and the NUI Galway based camp will run from the 24-28 June, the NUI Galway camp will be themed Medtech. Each camp is limited to 25 students per camp, are free to attend and lunch is provided for all participants. Both camps will run a final Idea Pitch competition with a €1,000 Prize fund for the top teams participating in each camp. Speaking about the camp Natalie Walsh, Executive Director of LaunchPad at NUI Galway, said: “We have worked with multiple schools across the region in recent years and have been so impressed with their enthusiasm and innovation, the Ideas Academy was a natural next step for our programme and programme partners to engage in, one we are proud to be in a position to Launch in Galway and Mayo.” John Magee, Head of Enterprise with Mayo County Council, said: “We are delighted to partner with the LaunchPad to bring the Ideas Academy to Ballina. Mayo has a fantastic entrepreneurial culture among our young people and this camp is an exciting opportunity for second level students to further develop their ideas in a structured setting. The week is free, fun and an incredible chance to learn from other inspirational young Mayo people.” To register for the Ballina Ideas Academy visit https://ideasacademyballina.eventbrite.ie. Those interested in attending the NUI Galway Ideas Academy can register at https://ideasacademymedtech.eventbrite.ie. Places for eligible participants will be awarded on a first come bases. For further information please contact launchpad@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Dr Alison Forrestal, Lecturer in History and Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Professor of Italian at NUI Galway, have been elected as Members of the Royal Irish Academy for their contribution to Humanities and Social Sciences, during a special admittance ceremony recently in Dublin. Dr Forrestal and Professor Bartoloni are two of 27 new Members of the Royal Irish Academy elected for their exceptional contribution to the sciences, humanities and social sciences as well as to public service. New members joining the NUI Galway academics include Nobel Laureate John O’Keefe, Diarmaid Ferriter of UCD, and Olivia O’Leary of RTÉ. Professor Peter Kennedy, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said: “These individuals have made exceptional contributions in their fields of endeavour. We are delighted to recognise their achievements.” Dr Alison Forrestal is a leading authority on the history of early modern Christianity, and has particular expertise in the religious histories of France and Ireland. She has published three major monographs, edited two collections of essays, published many articles, and is academic leader of a Digital Humanities project on Vatican documents. Among her works is the ground-breaking Vincent de Paul, the Lazarist Mission, and French Catholic Reform, an acclaimed study of the charitable and missionary enterprises associated with Vincent de Paul, a driving force behind the Catholic Reformation and an enduring influence on Catholic socio-cultural norms and ideals. Paolo Bartoloni is Established Professor of Italian at NUI Galway. Previously he taught in Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of Sydney where he was Founding Director of the program in International and Comparative Literary Studies. He is a leading cultural theorist who has made significant contributions to international scholarship in the areas of comparative literature, translation studies, contemporary philosophy and Italian cultural history. He is the author of four monographs, including the internationally acclaimed On the Cultures of Exile, Translation, and Writing, three edited collections and over 60 refereed articles in major international journals. His latest book Objects in Italian Life and Culture: Fiction, Migration and Artificiality covers a significant gap in ‘object theory’ with its new take on the relation between objects and humans.     Congratulating Dr Forrestal and Professor Bartoloni on this honour, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of colleagues at NUI Galway, I extend warmest congratulations to Alison and Paolo on their election to membership of the Royal Irish Academy.  This recognises the immense and continuing contribution which they make to their respective academic fields of history and Italian literature.  As educators, researchers and as academic leaders at NUI Galway, they demonstrate personal talent and commitment to the advancement of humanities and social sciences research, nationally and internationally.  I’m delighted to see their achievements so justly recognised by the Academy in this way.” The Royal Irish Academy is Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities. The Academy has been honouring Ireland’s leading contributors to the world of learning since its establishment in 1785. Past Members have included Maria Edgeworth, a pioneer of the modern novel and Nobel laureates: WB Yeats; Ernest Walton, Erwin Schrödinger and Seamus Heaney. -Ends-

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

A new four-year, €5.9 million RURALIZATION project aims to develop knowledge and support policy making to help answer some of the challenges facing rural areas and support rural regeneration. The Rural Studies Cluster at the Discipline of Geography, NUI Galway, is part of the RURALIZATION project that involves partner organisations across 12 European countries. At NUI Galway, the project is led by Dr Maura Farrell, Lecturer in the Discipline of Geography, School of Geography and Archaeology. Dr Farrell said: “The balanced development of the EU is threatened by the unequal development of urban and rural areas. The issue of regenerating rural areas is not new. Innovative solutions exist, but need to be better applied and adapted. One size doesn’t fit all. What is unique about this project is that it will find these solutions, assess and develop them with people in rural areas where they are used, and then look at how they can be applied in new contexts. The project also uses innovative methods, assessing the dreams of youth for rural futures, which then feeds into a proposed set of renewed policy options.” Rural areas face specific constraints related to depopulation, apparently poor development opportunities and the transition from reliance on primary sectors, such as farming and forestry. Funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme, RURALIZATION will work to develop knowledge and support policy making in answering some of these challenges. In particular the project will improve understanding of rural regeneration, including the issue of access to land, define innovative instruments and strategies to facilitate generational renewal in agriculture and rural development, as well as support policy making to make rural dreams for new rural generations come true. Two Irish organisations, NUI Galway and Teagasc, are among the partnership of 18 organisations involved. The research team from NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography are Dr Maura Farrell, Principal Investigator, Dr Aisling Murtagh, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Dr Marie Mahon, Dr Therese Conway, Dr John McDonagh and Dr Shane Conway. The diverse project partnership includes universities, research institutes, SMEs and other practitioners such as five members of the Access to Land Network. This multi-disciplinary consortium will put in place research and innovation activities ensuring the involvement of farmers, young people and rural entrepreneurs, following a multi-actor approach. -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

NUI Galway’s microbiologists are putting microbiology in the spotlight with the recent launch of an ambitious student-centered, video-teaching initiative. The project showcases a range of techniques that are routinely performed in microbiology teaching and research laboratories. The 40 professionally produced videos are contained on a freely available YouTube channel and will be a valuable resource for both third and second level students. Project Lead Dr Katrina Lacey sees multiple benefits for students in NUI Galway and worldwide, stating: “We started this project from a very pure, student-focused blueprint, with the goal of enhancing our teaching of small-scale, specialist techniques that are often difficult to demonstrate to large classes. Feedback from an initial trial used in our Microbiology degree this year was hugely positive, both in helping students to develop their practical skills and in improving their understanding of core concepts in microbiology.” Produced in combination with Slipjig Media, the videos depict individual techniques routinely carried out in teaching laboratories. Techniques covered in the videos range from simple methods such as culturing and identifying bacteria, to more specialised and sophisticated procedures used in analysing and manipulating DNA and proteins. The film-making project, which took two years to complete, saw a team of PhD students in the Discipline of Microbiology hone their skills in the relevant techniques before carrying out the experiments on camera. This was followed by months of video and audio editing to ensure the technical details are expertly presented in the finished mini-movies. Professor Gerard Wall, Head of Microbiology at NUI Galway, said: “Visual learning is an important strategy for many students, especially when it comes to understanding core laboratory techniques. These videos will support students’ learning, not only in the case of third level undergraduates, but Junior and Leaving Cert students too. The videos will also help students who wish to continue their studies in the biosciences field in their progression to third level.” The new YouTube channel, containing a trailer that gives a flavour of the content and aims of the video suite as well as the instructional videos, can be found at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsP4xz5aq7sWfR9eXSCd_QQ/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Promoting capacity building for high quality Patient and Public Involvement in health research The Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Ignite Programme at NUI Galway has launched a PPI Catalysts initiative, a leadership group of researchers spread across the University who have a commitment to advance the teaching and practice of meaningful public and patient involvement in research. NUI Galway was one of five universities in 2017 awarded funding under the Health Research Board and Irish Research Council’s €1.75million ‘PPI Ignite’ initiative, to help researchers involve the public from the very start of the health research process. It is the first award of its kind in Ireland. Professor Sean Dinneen, Director of the HRB-funded PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme, said: “The PPI Ignite Programme aims to bring about a culture change in how healthcare research is conducted and our PPI catalysts are already making a difference, promoting PPI in their own networks and contributing to deliver PPI training to researchers across the University. They are setting a standard on meaningful involvement and their enthusiasm for PPI and their expertise will inspire others to follow suit. We are looking forward to working with these Catalysts in the years ahead and plan to expand the Catalysts network further to include Catalysts in the local community also.” The four PPI Catalysts announced were: Dr Ruth McMenamin, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; Dr Martin O’Halloran, College of Science and Engineering; Dr Oonagh Meade, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; and Dr Michelle Queally from the College of Business, Public Policy and Law. Research conducted by Dr Ruth McMenamin from the Discipline of Speech and Language Therapy, is in partnership with people who live with aphasia, a language disorder experienced by up to one-third of the stroke population. Dr McMenamin’s PPI work focuses on including this marginalized group as co-researchers, to ensure that research on aphasia is strongly guided by the people with aphasia themselves. “PPI in research means working with public and patients in all stages of the research process. By doing involvement work researchers move away from thinking about ‘my research’ towards thinking about ‘our research’ and this leads to transformative experiences for all involved in the research process” said Dr McMenamin. Dr Martin O’Halloran, Head of the Translational Medical Device Laboratory at NUI Galway, leads the development of medical devices that have a tangible impact on patient care and support Ireland’s indigenous medtech industry, he commented: “The key opinion leader in device development has traditionally been the doctor. The patient voice is now becoming more important. PPI gives us an insight into the patient perspective on what devices are needed and what problems devices should focus on solving. PPI shapes our projects and helps us to understand the needs of patients and the urgency to develop a solution for a patient population.”  Dr Oonagh Meade, a health psychologist at NUI Galway, with extensive experience of involving mental health service users as research partners, is shaping a research study exploring the experiences of those living with long term health conditions and Dr Michelle Queally is a health economist who works to bring the voice of the public and patient to influence her research in a variety of areas, including childhood obesity and clinical trials. Professor Dinneen added: “More and more members of the public and patients are working with research teams to help influence what health research should be undertaken, how research should be designed and conducted, and how research results should be used to bring about change. Patients are experts in the condition they live with; so hearing from patients about the experience of living with a particular condition provides researchers with real insight into that condition. The increasing number of partnerships between members of the public/patients and researchers being established, ensure that research is guided by the voice of the public and the patient.” ENDS

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

As part of the celebrations for ‘The 20th Anniversary of Access at NUI Galway’, the Access to Post-Primary Teaching (APT) Project Launch and Schools’ Event took place recently at NUI Galway. The APT project, funded by the Higher Education Authority under the Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH), Strand 1 (Equity of Access to Initial Teacher Education), is a three-year joint initiative between NUI Galway and St. Angela’s College, Sligo, and aims to support the progression and retention of those from lower socio-economic groups in Initial Teacher Education (ITE). The APT Project was formally launched by Professor Gerry MacRuairc, Head of NUI Galway’s School of Education. Over 100 senior cycle pupils and their teachers from schools across the Border, Midlands and Western (BMW) region, and the APT project contributors, participated in the day-long event. The sessions were aimed at supporting school pupils’ higher education and career planning, including in relation to teaching as a career. The NUI Galway aspect of the APT project is led by APT Principal Investigators, Drs Elaine Keane and Manuela Heinz, and Dr Andrea Lynch, APT Post-Doctoral Researcher, in the School of Education, in partnership with the Access Centre and the Career Development Centre. The project is supported by funding from Galway University Foundation and the HEA. Drs Keane and Heinz previously implemented the highly successful Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) national research project (funded by the Irish Research Council), establishing the first national evidence base in relation to the socio-demographic profile of applicants and entrants to ITE in Ireland. Drs Keane and Heinz published their findings in a range of peer-reviewed journals demonstrating the homogeneity of the ITE population in Ireland and the particular under-representation of those from lower socio-economic and minority ethnic backgrounds and those with disabilities. Dr Keane was subsequently invited to be a member of the Department of Education and Skills Working Group (Diversity in Initial Teacher Education) which led to the establishment of PATH1 funding to diversify ITE. Dr Elaine Keane said: “It was a privilege for us in the School of Education to host students from many schools in Galway and beyond, including from Donegal, at our APT project event. Diversifying the teaching profession has long been a core research focus for us here in the School and, through the APT project, we are now working to attract and support those from under-represented groups in our teaching programme. We were delighted by the response of the pupils to the day!” The APT project currently supports 21 participants in the Professional Master of Education programme in the School of Education at NUI Galway, and also works with senior cycle school pupils in DEIS schools, through the APT participants’ school placements as student teachers, in relation to higher education progression, and career planning. Dr Manuela Heinz commented: “It was fantastic to see so many second-level students actively participating during lectures and workshops and showing an interest in teaching and higher education. We hope that the students have gained a better understanding of the many routes that are available to them with regard to their future career choices. We would definitely love to see some of them again in the future at NUI Galway and, hopefully, in the School of Education.” Dr Andrea Lynch said: “The APT event was an exciting and inspiring day for all! Numerous graduates from under-represented groups graciously shared their stories of overcoming educational barriers, demonstrating that with adequate support, hard-work and determination can pay off in the pursuit of dreams and goals. We hope the day will have life changing consequences for those who attended.” For more information on the APT Project visit https://bit.ly/2qDiXg7, or contact Dr Elaine Keane at Elaine.keane@nuigalway.ie,  Dr Manuela Heinz, Manuela.heinz@nuigalway.ie, or Dr Andrea Lynch, andrea.lynch@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 27 May 2019

NUI Galway will host a two-day ‘Working Qualitatively in Trial and Healthcare Methodology Research’ workshop on 30-31 May. The event is hosted by the Qualitative Research in Trials Centre (QUESTS) embedded with the HRB-TMRN, based at NUI Galway, in partnership with the Effective Successful Happy Academic. The purpose of this event is to focus on the impact of qualitative research on the health care research process, from grant to report stages as well as to support researchers to be more successful in their careers. Keynote speakers will include Professor Alex Clark, Associate Vice President (Research), University of Alberta, and Bailey Sousa, Former Director of the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, University of Alberta. Founders of The Effective, Successful, Happy Academic, they share a passion for effectiveness and aspiration in academic work and have led interdisciplinary workshops throughout Canada and all over the world on aspects of academic work. QUESTS Co-Chair and NUI Galway Lecturer, Dr Catherine Houghton, said: “We, at QUESTS, are incredibly excited and honoured to have such high profile speakers joining us in Galway to share our passion for qualitative research in trials and healthcare research. Sincere thank you to HRB-TMRN for supporting this event. An added bonus is day two, where Bailey and Alex will share their insights on how to be an effective, successful and happy academic. People can register for either or both days and we look forward to meeting you all.” For more information on the workshop or to register visit https://effectiveacademic.regfox.com/galway2019. -Ends-

Monday, 27 May 2019

The programme saw an increase of over 40% in the number of female participants NUI Galway recently held its Transition Year Civil Engineering programme, which is open to all Transition Year students across Ireland. The programme is designed by NUI Galway Civil Engineering Lecturer, Dr Indiana Olbert, and delivered by University staff in partnership with Arup Consultancy. This year, 44 students from 21 schools across Galway, Mayo, Clare, Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Limerick, Offaly and Donegal participated on the three-day programme. The programme aims to provide a specialised, first-hand experience of the diverse and exciting opportunities an engineering career can offer, and showcases areas such as Structural Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Marine Renewable Energy Engineering. Activities included lectures, laboratory sessions and practical workshops including the design and construction of a prototype lollipop stick bridge, with a prize awarded for best bridge construction. The first prize was awarded to the group of three students of St. Enda’s College Galway, Ben O’Sullivan, Barry Murphy and James Parnell. Dr Olbert said: “I want to pass on my passion for engineering to the next generation. Programmes like this enables Transition Year students to understand what engineers do and helps them to make good career choices.” Now in its fourth year, NUI Galway’s Transition Year Civil Engineering programme highlighted a significant increase in the number of female participants at 41% - almost double the number from last year. Mary Dempsey, Vice Dean for Equality Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “The substantial increase in demand for engineering courses by females is a very positive indicator. Engineering is a great career for women as we bring a different perspective to the world and it is important to increase and embrace diversity in our student population. Global academic leaders such as MIT have achieved gender balance in their undergraduate engineering programmes and NUI Galway is firmly on the right trajectory to achieve a similar balance through its Athena SWAN agenda. I highly commend Dr Olbert on her diligent work in making the Transition Year engineering programme such a success. As an engineer, Dr Olbert is a wonderful role model for prospective female engineers. Interestingly, her research area is numerical and physical modelling of surface water which is very relevant to Galway, bordered by lakes, rivers, canals and sea.” -Ends-

Monday, 27 May 2019

A new exhibition which showcases a display of works produced by participants during the ‘Future Landscapes: Enhancing Seen and Unseen Landscapes with Mixed Reality’ workshop will take place on Friday, 31 May. The workshop is an intensive four-week program is currently being run at NUI Galway in a collaboration between the Moore Institute at NUI Galway and Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture. It is facilitated by the School of Machines, Making and Make-Believe, based in Berlin. The exhibition will feature work that has been created by participants drawn from theatre, visual and digital arts, animation, as well as from the research community within the College of Arts at NUI Galway. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore a variety of cutting-edge work-in-progress projects created during the programme, and to meet the project creators. David Kelly, Digital Humanities Manager at NUI Galway’s Moore Institute, said: “The programme has been an amazing opportunity to not only learn from experts in the field of these technologies, but also to benefit from the huge variety of skills the participants bring. The opportunity to collaborate and learn from this diverse group has been a fantastic experience.” The programme aims to develop capacity in the creative application of virtual and augmented reality technologies, and to establish a network of researchers, practitioners and artists through which future projects can be developed. The participants, who come from across Galway city and county, as well as from Europe and South America, are benefiting from the expertise of local and European instructors who have facilitated a mix of hands-on technical learning, along with artist talks and critical reflection on the use of these emerging technologies. Discussing this approach to learning, Rachel Uwa, Founder of the School of Machines, Making and Make-Believe, said: “I design programs to get hands-on with latest technologies while simultaneously questioning their usage. Technology is fascinating but my aim through education is always to get participants to ask themselves ‘Who are we and what do we care about?’.  Inviting brilliant instructors who are open to discussing both the technological and human aspects of this creative work and bringing together interdisciplinary teams and people from different cultures and perspectives really challenges everyone to get out of their comfort zone which I feel is invaluable.” This capacity-building project is a partnership between Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture’s Digital Programme and the Moore Institute at NUI Galway and is part-funded through a national Higher Education Authority (HEA) project on Digital Literacy in Irish Humanities. When describing the long-term impact of this type of capacity building exercise, Denise McDonagh, Digital Programme Manager for Galway 2020, said: “For a European Capital of Culture, it is important to be part of the conversation on the digital transformation in creative and learning methods. Capacity building, especially through projects like Future Landscapes, can unlock the potential for new work and processes for groups of artists and researchers, which can allow them to critically engage with new digital technologies and their impact on culture.” The public Future Landscapes exhibition takes place on Friday, 31 May, from 5–9pm at The Cornstore, Middle Street, Galway. Further details about the workshop can be found at: http://schoolofma.org/future-landscapes/ -Ends-

Monday, 27 May 2019

NUI Galway, in collaboration with 16 software industry partners, is offering a limited number of free places on its award winning, innovative Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme – Industry Stream. This programme was awarded the accolade of being Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology by Grad Ireland in 2015. 90% of Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development graduates have secured immediate employment in software development roles. Many of the graduates are employed with some of Ireland’s leading software companies. NUI Galway has designed this one-year conversion programme in conjunction with leading IT employers which enables graduates to reskill for employment in the software development area. Student fees for the course are funded by the Higher Education Authority given the strategic importance of developing skills in this area. Successful applicants will pay no fees if they are unemployed. If they are employed or in part-time employment, they will have to pay a once off 10% fee which amounts to €650. The overall goal of this postgraduate conversion programme is to strategically 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. Applicants are paired with an industry partner from the start of the programme and are then trained in key technologies for that employer’s needs, so they are then able to maximise the impact of a paid industry internship towards the end of the programme. The Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region, and will provide graduates with a solid foundation in key areas of software design, a choice of software architecture specialisations in either .NET or Java Enterprise. The final aspect of the course involves a guaranteed three-month paid internship to gain industry experience, and as a result provides the opportunity to kick-start your career as a software developer. Each student progressed through the course will have their training content determined by their associated industry partner. On completion of the course, these students will have transformed their employability in the current economy, with a range of great options opening up to them for further progression either in industry or via more specialisation through a masters.  The industry partners include Avaya, Cisco, SAP, INSIGHT, Storm Technologies, Aspect Software, The Marine Institute, and Schneider Electric. Dr Enda Barrett, Course Director, said: “We are delighted to again offer free places on this unique programme due to funding from the HEA and their Springboard initiative. This is a super opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates particularly from cognate disciplines such as engineering, maths, business and science. By investing 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. The highly intensive programme is designed for those with little or no knowledge of software development, but we are particularly keen to receive applications from those who have had some exposure to coding and feel that this is something they potentially have a flare for.” Dr Barrett continued: “The career prospects for our graduates are extremely strong and demand is dramatically outstripping supply. The programme is highly respected among many of Irelands leading software companies many of whom specifically want to recruit graduates who have come through our unique programme. Our recognition as Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology has propelled both the programme and our graduates to the front of the list for many recruiters and we are delighted with the feedback and positivity we have been receiving from our past graduates and their employers alike.” The programme is open to all those who have a level 8 degree or alternatively those with a level 7 degree and has some relevant industry work experience. Those currently completing their studies or who are currently in some form of employment are all eligible to apply. NUI Galway is now processing applications and those interested can make their application through https://springboardcourses.ie/details/7196, or seek more information via the twitter account @hdipindustry. Significant interest in this free course is expected and early application is advisable as we will process applications and hold interviews on a rolling basis. Deadline for final applications is Sunday, 30 June. For further information contact the Programme Director, Dr Enda Barrett at Enda.Barrett@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 27 May 2019

NUI Galway’s Discipline of Economics will host this year’s Irish Postgraduate and Early Career Economics Workshop from 6-7 June. The event is aimed at PhD students, PostDocs, early career researchers and advanced Masters students based in higher education and research institutions. The meeting will feature the work and findings of scholars in economics and related fields, and will provide an opportunity to engage with research results and work-in-progress in a constructive environment. The workshop will also host a training event, entitled ‘An Introduction to Machine Learning for Economics’ on Thursday, 6 June, from 1-5pm. The training will be delivered by Dr Achim Ahrens, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI). It will provide an overview of popular Machine Learning techniques and the focus will be on Lasso regression, a regularisation and model selection method that can deal with high-dimensional data. It will also discuss how the Lasso and other Machine Learning tools can be useful for economists; in particular, how Machine Learning can improve predictions and facilitate causal inference. This year a range of thematic sessions and training events will feature, including full paper thematic sessions with discussants and early-stage/emerging research findings thematic sessions with general open discussion. On Thursday, 6 June, from 1-5pm, a workshop on ‘An Introduction to Machine Learning for Economists’, will be delivered by Dr Achim Ahrens, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI). On Friday, 7 June, a short training session on ‘Publishing your Research in Peer-Reviewed Journals – Tips from Journal Editors’ will take place. Dr John Cullinan, Senior Lecturer in Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The event is an ideal opportunity for early career researchers in economics to showcase their work, receive constructive feedback, and build collaborations and networks for the future. There is also an important training element to the workshop, where participants can learn about the latest methodological developments in the field and engage with journal editors on how to publish their research.” The event is free but is ticketed via Eventbrite. To register visit https://bit.ly/2LYIQ73    -Ends-

Friday, 24 May 2019

Dr Mark Howard has joined NUI Galway’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics having been awarded a Royal Society – Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellowship. The University Research Fellowship scheme is for outstanding scientists who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field. This fellowship provides the opportunity to build an independent research career. The Fellowship is part of a collaboration between the Royal Society and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) where both institutions partner on a University Research Fellowship Scheme. This award, funded by Science Foundation Ireland allows Irish research scientists to follow in the footsteps of giants like Boyle, Hooke and Newton and join a fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Dr Howard’s research is in the field of Quantum Computing. By building quantum computers, computers that exploit the laws of quantum mechanics, scientists will unlock new problem-solving capabilities. His fellowship applies mathematical techniques in order to design realistic quantum computers. Quantum computing could be used in optimising and simulating molecules and materials for drug design and delivery, in banking security, or in supply chain and logistics. Speaking about his new Fellowship at NUI Galway, Dr Mark Howard, said: “I was delighted to receive this award, not only because of its prestigious nature but because it provides one of the most precious assets an academic can have - time; time to develop as an independent researcher, time to pursue ambitious research goals and time to build an academic group of one's own.” The award, worth over €500,000 covers salary, overheads and research expenses for five years with an option to apply for an additional three-year extension. In addition, Dr Howard has won a Royal Society Research Enhancement Award, which enables him to hire a Postdoctoral Researcher, as well as providing funding for Undergraduate Summer Studentships. Dr Mark Howard also contributed recently to an article on the ‘Heart of Quantum’ in New Scientist, to read in full, visit: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24132210-300-the-quantum-world-is-infamously-weird-now-we-might-know-why/ Dr Howard’s research was published in a Nature paper in 2014, to read the full paper, visit: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature13460 The Royal Society are the independent scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science. For more information, visit: https://royalsociety.org/ -Ends-

Friday, 24 May 2019

Survey aims to capture data on where free-living honeybee colonies currently exist, where they like living and ultimately how long they survive unaided in Ireland As the summer season begins, researchers from Zoology at NUI Galway have launched an online nationwide Citizen Survey, the first in Europe, in collaboration with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, The Native Irish Honey Bee Society and The Federation of Irish Beekeeping Associations. They are inviting people throughout Ireland to participate in the survey by recording their sightings online of wild honey bee colonies. The researchers based in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway are studying the wild honey bees in Ireland to discover the number and distribution of their colonies and devise strategies for their conservation. Of the 99 species of bee in Ireland there is only one native wild honey bee, a sub-species called Apis mellifera mellifera or the Northern black bee, which is considered extinct in the wild across much of its European range. The public are asked to get in touch through the online website with reported sightings of wild honey bees (also referred to as free-living or unmanaged bees) living anywhere other than a beehive. The researchers are seeking the following data from the public: A photo/description of the colony entrance, its location, and how long it has been there. Additional useful information sought includes: how high off the ground it is; what direction the entrance is facing; are the honey bees behaving aggressively; and has a beekeeper taken a swarm from the colony. Professor Grace McCormack from Zoology at NUI Galway who is leading the study, says: “The public are absolutely critical for data collection on this scale and indeed for conservation efforts. We gathered some promising preliminary data from a previous pilot project in 2016 and we are now working with the National Biodiversity Data Centre seeking help from citizen scientists to extend the study to this online survey and discover what wealth of wild honey bees remain in the Irish landscape.” Over 200 reports of honey bee colonies in buildings, trees, walls and a mixture of other types of cavities were received from the pilot project. Colonies were reported from Dublin to Galway and Kerry to Fermanagh, and the researchers have been able to monitor the survival of some of these. The Varroa destructor parasite usually kills a colony within one to two years unless chemically treated. However, some of the wild free-living colonies appear to survive for over three years without human intervention, which is heartening for not only wild honey bees but also the beekeeping industry. Importantly the 2016 project also showed that a high proportion of the free-living population are Apis mellifera mellifera, the sub-species native to Ireland. John Little, Chair of The Native Irish Honey Bee Society (NIHBS), says: “Ireland’s native black honey bee, Apis mellifera mellifera, forms the bedrock of our country’s long heritage of beekeeping culture and is also an important component of our natural pollinators. Regrettably, the twin threats of the introduced Varroa destructor parasite and the continued importation of other honey bees has placed both managed and native wild honey bees at risk, in addition to all bees and pollinators struggling to find enough food and shelter due to continued habitat loss. Wild colonies surviving without human intervention, whether in a tree or a house roof, are an important genetic resource for the conservation of honey bees and a possible solution to Varroa. Our collaboration with the NUI Galway wild honey bee study, which aims to enlighten us all about our wild honey bee population, is an important milestone in The Native Irish Honey Bee Society’s fight to conserve and protect our bees.” Keith Browne, a researcher from Zoology in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, added: “We are hoping people all over Ireland will take part in this conservation project and allow us to build on our current data which, whilst promising, needs to be more extensive. We’re aiming to capture data on where free-living honeybee colonies currently exist, where they like living and ultimately how long they survive unaided. Managed honey bees originally came from wild colonies and both populations are important for their mutual survival.” Honey bees typically like nesting in elevated cavities like hollows in trees, walls and roofs of buildings, old houses and castles, and can be particularly noticeable when workers are seen frequently flying to and from the nest entrance on warm sunny days. The newly launched online Citizen Survey is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in collaboration with The Native Irish Honey Bee Society, The Federation of Irish Beekeepers, the National Biodiversity Data Centre, The Eva Crane Trust and NUI Galway. To participate in the survey and record sightings, visit: https://records.biodiversityireland.ie/record/wildhoneybeestudy -Ends-

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Minister welcomes delegates to the scientific collaborative research programme to help prevent and control food-borne and environmental contaminants that affect human health  The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed welcomed today (Wednesday, 22 May) national and international delegates to the 1st Annual Scientific Meeting of the One Health European Joint Programme (EJP). This meeting takes place in Dublin from 22-24 May. Dr Dearbháile Morris from Bacteriology in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway and Dr Geraldine Duffy from Teagasc are the scientific participants in the Programme. The One Health European Joint Programme (EJP) is a European Commission co-funded scientific collaborative research programme to help prevent and control food-borne and environmental contaminants that affect human health and is co-funded under the EU Research & Innovation Framework Programme Horizon 2020. The international “One Health” concept recognises that human health is highly dependent on animal health and the environment, and that the food-borne contaminants in particular that affect human health, animal health and the environment are closely intertwined. The European Joint Programme (EJP) on “One Health” has brought together a research community across Europe of medical, veterinary and environmental health scientists to work together in interdisciplinary teams with an international approach to address the threats of food-borne disease, antimicrobial resistance and emerging threats to human health from animals or the environment. The Minister said: “The hosting of this prestigious meeting arises out of the participation of my Department, Teagasc and NUI Galway in the EU Research & Innovation funded (Horizon 2020) - European Joint Programme on One Health, Zoonoses & Emerging Threats, which is coordinated by the French Agency ANSES. The One Health project commenced on the 1, January 2018 and represents a significant coordinated investment by participating EU countries and the EU Commission to combat food-borne zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance and emerging risks.” The One Health European Joint Programme will help strengthen cooperation between its 40 partners (including the Med-Vet-Net Association) from 19 EU Member States. These research centres, most of which have national reference laboratory mandates on food-borne zoonoses will form an organised network and represent an integrated research community whose aim is to promote scientific progress in the areas of foodborne zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance and emerging risks. Dr Dearbháile Morris, NUI Galway and Dr Geraldine Duffy, Teagasc, Co-Chairs of the EJP organising committee said: “The conference organising team are delighted to be hosting this One Health European Joint Programme event in Dublin and to welcome Irish and international colleagues to address key issues related to food-borne pathogens and antimicrobial resistance in a One Health forum.” Minister Creed concluded by saying: “We will warmly welcome all our European partners to Dublin for this high-level meeting. I strongly support the work of my department, Teagasc and NUI Galway in collaborating nationally and internationally through the One Health EJP to generate scientific data and knowledge to be used for the analysis of health risks. This project will provide a structure for effective interaction with the other EU Member States, major EU funded One Health related projects, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and the EU Commission.  The programme has been built upon the principle of co-funding from the participating institutes and the European Union (Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation). As the largest European Joint Programme investment, it will cost €90 million, where 50% of its funding will come from the European Commission and 50% from the participating Member States.  -Ends-

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

3,600 students completed Access programmes at NUI Galway over the past 20 years 62% of Access students were female, compared to 38% male 90% of students who completed an Access programme continued into an undergraduate course of study 77% of students who undertook an undergraduate course completed their studies and received a degree, or are still engaged in their course of study To commemorate 20 Years of Access education in NUI Galway, a new report launched this week by the Minister of State with responsibility for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., highlights the impact that Access programmes have on society through the participation and progression of Access students from disadvantaged or underrepresented groups into third-level education over the last twenty years. The Access Centre at NUI Galway delivers one-year pre-undergraduate programmes both on-campus for school leavers and mature students, and off-campus in outreach centres in Sligo, Ballinasloe and An Cheathrú Rua (Carraroe). Access students secure a diploma in foundation studies which guarantees them a place in further third-level education. From the data available from this study, over 3,600 students completed an Access programme, from the pilot programme in 1997-98 up to 2017-18. In terms of gender breakdown, 62% of Access students were female, compared to 38% male. Approximately half of past students (52%) were from Galway City, with 34% from other parts of the county, and 14% from other counties in the Border Midlands West (BMW) region and Co. Clare region. Over 90% of school leavers and mature students who completed the Access programme in NUI Galway continued into an undergraduate course of study. 77% of mature and school leavers Access students who undertook an undergraduate level course completed their studies and received a degree, or are still engaged in their course of study. 21% of past Access school leaver and mature students in NUI Galway continued into and completed postgraduate degree programmes, with the majority of these students completing a Master’s degree-level qualification. Findings from this study highlight the important and long-term impact the Access programmes have had on the third level education system, on close to 4,000 students from Galway City, County and the BMW and Co. Clare regions, and on Irish society in general. Overall, progression rates of School Leavers and Mature students are approximately in line with national averages. Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre at NUI Galway, commented: “The findings from this study clearly point to the positive and powerful impact of the Access initiative across the past twenty years in offering an alternative pathway for disadvantaged and underrepresented groups. This report provides evidence of the important role of the Access programmes in breaking down barriers to higher education for the most under-represented groups in higher education and the effectiveness of the suite of student-centred academic and personal supports on offer to Access students. It clearly outlines the vitally important impact Access can have into the future for the participants. “All of us on the Access Programmes team have had the privilege over two decades to meet wonderful individuals and their families who, in spite of very challenging and constraining previous life circumstances and experiences in higher education, successfully participated, graduated and progressed to employment.” As part of the 20 Years celebrations the Access Centre hosted a series of events to commemorate the occasion that included: Dress for Success is part of a University partnership with the charity through the Office of the Vice President for Equality and Diversity. The event supported six residents from the Direct Provision hostel in Galway, a member of the Travelling community and several women with disabilities, who participated in sessions at NUI Galway where staff provided a stylist on what to wear when going for interviews and one-to-one career sessions; A Photographic and Video Exhibition marking the Access journey over 20 years titled, Access Album of Memories of past Access Alumni.  The School of Education hosted a day-long event as part of the 20 year celebrations to formally launch the NUI Galway aspect of Access to Post-Primary Teaching (APT) 2, celebrating the work of Access participants, to support the Higher Education and career planning of DEIS pupils in the APT participants’ placement schools. Approximately 150 pupils from the APT participants’ placement schools came to NUI Galway for the event and participating in workshops.  For more information about the Access Centre, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/accesscentre/ Those interested in becoming an Access Alumni member can visit, www.nuigalway.ie/access/accessalumni or email Access20@nuigalway.ie or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NUIGaccess.  -Ends-