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Flusurvey.ie, Hosted at NUI Galway, Aims to Track the Spread of Seasonal Flu in Ireland
Monday, 4 November 2013
The site, a collaboration between NUI Galway, the HSE and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, will provide real time data about the spread of the flu Flusurvey.ie is a new website that will map the spread of the seasonal flu and allow health authorities and members of the public fight against the seasonal flu. Flusurvey.ie is part of Influenzanet, already used in other European countries, which is an innovative development using on-line volunteers to support existing influenza monitoring systems. It is a research collaboration between NUI Galway, the HSE/Health Protection Surveillance Centre, and international partners from the EU-wide Influenzanet project. The system will indicate to those that register, how many other cases are recorded in their area. It will provide valuable real-time public health information on the demographics and geographic location of influenza sufferers. Using internet technology it provides public health agencies across Europe with novel opportunities for gathering data from members of the public on infectious diseases such as influenza. Volunteers register online and self-report by answering short questions relating to demographic, medical, socio-economic and lifestyle issues. The information received is anonymous and only general non-specific information is made available. Participants can view interactive maps with influenza data broken down at their local and national levels, and the system can map the spread of the disease in its early stages, and provide health professionals with an early warning signal of nationwide outbreaks. Project Leader Dr. Jim Duggan, Senior Lecturer at the College of Engineering and Informatics, and Researcher at the Ryan Institute, says that “Modern technology can transform the way people interact with their physicians, and the wider public health system. This new project will demonstrate the potential for national self-reporting systems, and the approach can be extended for surveillance of other diseases, especially those which are not being monitored regularly through traditional public health surveillance.” Dr. Darina O’Flanagan of the HSE/HPSC welcomed the initiative and said that Flusurvey.ie / Influenzanet will be a useful addition to flu surveillance in Ireland and that the information gathered will be aggregated to complement existing methods of influenza surveillance, and to support modelling and analysis activities. Seasonal influenza is a highly contagious viral disease that is characterised by a sudden onset of fever, accompanied by muscle pain or headache, and a cough or sore throat. In Ireland, the influenza season typically starts in October, and continues through to late May. In additional to the debilitating nature of influenza for individuals, international studies have consistently highlighted the adverse economic impact of the virus due to absenteeism, and also how it can adversely impact on an individual’s productivity in the workplace. Influenzanet is accessible at http://flusurvey.ie, and will be available to the general public from Monday November 4th, 2013.
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NFB Research on Diatoms Published in Nature Communications
Monday, 4 November 2013
Harnessing diatoms, a type of microscopic algae, as a platform for drug delivery has been the focus of one of many research projects funded by Science Foundation Ireland at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway. Research describing methods to alter the chemical composition and architectural features of diatoms has recently been published in the November issueof Nature Communications. With an impact factor of 10.015, Nature Communications is rated third among all multidisciplinary science primary research journals for 2012. The production of nanomaterials is a fast developing field of nanotechnology. The synthesis of nanomaterials varying in chemical composition and size is challenging. Biological structures inspire for the design and fabrication of advanced nanostructured materials. A variety of organisms is capable of synthesising complicated architectures, among which are diatoms. Diatoms are microalgae found in both freshwater and seawater environments. To date over 100,000 species have been identified. Diatoms have enormous ecological importance and contain nano-scale diverse patterns and structures. Current engineering practices cannot manufacture the highly elaborate architecture of diatoms. Diatoms and their unique architecture are currently being investigated as new, effective vehicles for drug and gene delivery. In this application, the diatom would carry an appropriate amount of drug or gene to the desired site (e.g., tumours or diseased tissues), while minimising undesired side effects of the drugs on other tissues. Diatoms are also being explored as biosensors because of their large surface area and optical properties. The silica structures of diatoms are readily integrated with traditional processing methods in the semiconductor industry. Yvonne Lang, a PhD student at the NFB, collected diatoms from Galway Bay and cultured them in the laboratory. Her work was supervised by NUI Galway’s Professor Abhay Pandit and co-supervised by Dr David Finn. Yvonne’s research involved altering the chemistry of the living diatom and tailoring it for its intended application. The results presented in Nature Communications describe this innovative strategy, and how various microscopy techniques enabled both chemical and architectural modifications to be monitored in microscopic algae. An extension of this work will allow this natural resource to be harnessed for the preparation of biocompatible structures for the delivery of therapeutics.
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NUI Galway’s First Class Scholarships to Reward Excellence
Thursday, 7 November 2013
100 new Postgraduate Scholarships for full-time Taught Masters 2014 NUI Galway has announced details of a new scholarship scheme for postgraduate students designed to reward exceptional achievement. Postgraduate Scholarships valued at €1,500 per student will be awarded to all students studying a postgraduate taught Masters programme in the year 2014/15 who have a first class honours undergraduate degree. The scheme is open to postgraduate students, applying for a fulltime Taught Masters programme due to commence in autumn 2014. Scholarships will be awarded to students accepted on a fulltime taught masters and who fulfill the criteria as outlined by the University. Interested students should visit the NUI Galway website for further detail about the scholarships and for information about the general postgraduate student application process: www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships. NUI Galway offers over 500 postgraduate taught programmes, with a wide range of programme choice across its five Colleges, and flexible modes of delivery. Postgraduate study is increasingly essential in enabling new graduates to develop specialist knowledge in particular fields, and in enhancing employability skills. But course fees, along with maintenance costs, put postgraduate study out of the reach of many talented students. Announcing the scholarships at the University’s recent Postgraduate Open Day on campus, Professor Nollaig MacCongháil, Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway, said “the scholarships were developed in response to the cuts in maintenance funding for postgraduate students." He said "we know that more and more students are looking to postgraduate study as a means of enhancing their skills and their employability, but financial constraints are a big problem. We believe that these scholarships will enable more of the brightest and most committed students to progress to postgraduate study.” Postgraduate students make up a significant part of the student population at NUI Galway, with almost 4,000 students (taught and research) across all schools and disciplines. For more information on postgraduate programmes and scholarships at NUI Galway visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships or phone 091 492844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ENDS
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Fógraíonn OÉ Gaillimh Scoláireachtaí Nua den Scoth chun Mic Léinn Chumasacha a Aithint
Thursday, 7 November 2013
100 Scoláireacht nua Iarchéime do Chláir lánaimseartha Mháistreachta Mhúinte 2014 D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh sonraí faoi scéim scoláireachtaí do mhic léinn iarchéime chun gnóthachan eisceachtúil a aithint. Bronnfar Scoláireachtaí Iarchéime ar luach €1,500 an mac léinn ar gach mac léinn ar glacadh leo ar chláir lánaimseartha Mháistreachta Mhúinte in 2014/15 a bhfuil fochéim chéadonóracha acu. Tá an deis seo ar fáil do mhic léinn iarchéime a dhéanann iarratas ar chlár Máistreachta Múinte lánaimseartha atá le tosú i bhfómhar 2014. Bronnfar scoláireachtaí ar mhic léinn a ghlacann le háit ar mháistreacht lánaimseartha teagaisc agus a chomhlíonann critéir na hOllscoile. Ba cheart do mhic léinn a bhfuil spéis acu anseo cuairt a thabhairt ar láithreán gréasáin OÉ Gaillimh chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi scoláireachtaí agus chun eolas ginearálta a fháil faoin bpróiseas iarratais do mhic léinn iarchéime: www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships. Cuireann OÉ Gaillimh os cionn 500 clár iarchéime múinte ar fáil le rogha leathan as cúig Choláiste agus modhanna solúbtha seachadta. Tá staidéar iarchéime ag éirí níos riachtanaí chun saineolas a thabhairt do chéimithe nua i réimsí áirithe agus chun scileanna fostaíochta a fheabhsú. Ach mar gheall ar tháillí na gcúrsaí mar aon le costais chothabhála bíonn go leor mic léinn chumasacha nach mbíonn in acmhainn tabhairt faoi staidéar iarchéime. Ag labhairt dó faoin bhfógra, a rinneadh ag an Lá Oscailte Iarchéime ar an gcampas le gairid, dúirt an tOllamh Nollaig MacCongháil, Meabhránaí agus Leas Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Forbraíodh na scoláireachtaí mar fhreagra díreach ar na ciorruithe a rinneadh ar mhaoiniú cothabhála do mhic léinn iarchéime. Tá a fhios againn go bhfuil níos mó mic léinn ag díriú ar staidéar iarchéime d’fhonn cur lena gcuid scileanna agus chun a gcuid deiseanna fostaíochta a fheabhsú, ach tá srianta airgid ag cothú fadhbanna móra. Creidimid go dtabharfaidh na scoláireachtaí seo deis do níos mó de na mic léinn is cliste agus is tiomanta dul ar aghaidh chuig staidéar iarchéime.” Is mic léinn iarchéime iad cuid mhór de phobal OÉ Gaillimh; tá beagnach 4,000 mac léinn (ar chláir mhúinte agus thaighde) sna scoileanna agus sna disciplíní ar fad. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil ar chláir agus ar scoláireachtaí iarchéime in OÉ Gaillimh téigh chuig http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships nó glaoigh ar 091 492844 nó seol rphost chuig email@example.com. CRÍOCH
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NUI Galway Seminar Explores Role of HR in Supporting Innovation
Friday, 8 November 2013
Event celebrates 10 years of Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) accreditation of NUI Galway’s Masters of Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management Dr John McGurk, Head of CIPD, addressed HR professionals, Western Region CIPD branch members, NUI Galway students, staff and alumni and spoke about the importance of human resource management in supporting organizational innovation. The event, sponsored by Medtronic, was jointly organised by the Discipline of Management and the Western Region CIPD branch and was held the Aula Maxima in NUI Galway. Dr McGurk, explaining the people aspect of innovation, said “innovation is essentially about people connecting using their skills and sharing and combining knowledge. HR can play a critical role in supporting that effort.“ Martin Conroy, Senior Director of Continuous Improvement for Medtronic, also addressing the conference, agreed that product and process advances are not simply technological outcomes and require unlocking the potential of organisation’s employees. Mr. Conroy, who trained as an engineer, explained that value was added by HR policies that supported employee empowerment. Tom Ryan, Associate HR Director at Alkermes and Annette Murphy, Assistant Principal, Department of Social Protection, course alumni, described the role of HR in supporting innovation in private and public sector organisations. The event was chaired by alumnus Geraldine Grady, Chairperson of the Western Region branch of CIPD. Maureen Maloney, Programme Director for the Masters in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management at NUI Galway said, “It was fantastic to assemble such a group of high quality participants to speak about an important and timely topic. Of course, we were delighted to reunite with our alumni and friends from the HR community.” This seminar was organised to celebrate 10 years of CIPD accreditation of the Master in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management at NUI Galway. Over 200 alumni of the programme are working as professional HR managers in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, Australia, the United States and other countries.
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NUI Galway Trials Innovative Falls Detection System for Elderly Fallers
Monday, 11 November 2013
Project aims to tackle early falls detection both inside and outside the home NUI Galway is testing a wearable sensor and home wireless network to detect falls in the elderly, as part of a €2.25 million EU project called FATE. The project is actively recruiting participants aged 64 and over to test the system in their own homes. The FATE system is made up of a highly sensitive, portable fall detector, a wireless home network and a smart phone. The portable fall detector incorporates accelerometers which are capable of running complex falls detection algorithms. Unique features of this system include a bed sensor for night-time monitoring and the ability to monitor falls even outside the home. The FATE - FAll deTector for the Elderly is an EU Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) funded project involving 10 partners across Europe including a multidisciplinary team from NUI Galway, Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Physiology, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Gerontology and Podiatry. The project aims to test and validate this innovative ICT-based solution to improve the quality of life of the elderly population, both at home and outdoors. Falls in the aging population are a very significant problem, an economic burden for care providers and are associated with significant deterioration in the person’s quality of life often resulting in hospitalisation. Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Professor of Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway and FATE Principal Investigator for NUI Galway says “one of the key issues with falls in the elderly is the so called “long lie” where fallers remain on the floor for more hour after the fall due to lack of detection. This system has the potential to significantly reduce the incidence of undetected falls and drastically improve outcomes after a fall”. Dr Leo Quinlan from the Discipline of Physiology, School of Medicine at NUI Galway and project leader for FATE describes the potential impact of the system as very significant and explains “Falls can lead to a restriction in normal activity levels for the older person, due to developing a fear of falling leading to a social isolation and reduced quality of life. This system has the potential to give confidence and security to both the older person and their carers.” Recruitment for the study is on-going and Mary Rose Mulry (Occupational Therapy) and Dean Sweeney (Electronic & Electrical Engineering, NUI Galway) will visit interested candidates to discuss taking part in the study and what is involved for those that do. For more information visit http://fate.upc.edu/index.php Contact Mary Rose Mulry 085 815 1871 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Dean Sweeney 087 711 7064 email@example.com -ends-
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NUI Galway’s Cell EXPLORERS at the Science & Technology Festival
Monday, 11 November 2013
Introducing children and their families to the fascinating world of how living things work! Do you ever wonder how living things work? Or what they are made of? Or how scientists study living things and how this can help us? Cell EXPLORERS, part of the Bio-EXPLORERS science outreach programme based in the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway (www.nuigalway.ie/bughunters/), answers all these questions and more! On the final day of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, Cell EXPLORERS will present two workshops in NUI Galway. The Cell EXPLORERS Show will lead children and their parents through a series of interactive workstations where they will learn about the workings of the living cell and the instructions that control it. In the second workshop, The School of Natural Sciences Next Top Model, families will get a chance to interact with the NUI Galway researchers and learn about the model organisms they study and why they study them. Then decisions will have to be made and votes cast to crown the inaugural School of Natural Sciences Next Top Model organism! Do not forget to book your free ticket on the Galway Science and technology Festival website (www.galwayscience.ie) and make sure to come and join us on the 2013 Galway Science & Technology Festival Exhibition day on Sunday 24th November where you too can become a Cell EXPLORER! As well as interactive workshops, the Cell EXPLORERS team of volunteers is running a Road show. The Cell EXPLORERS team of volunteers has travelled over the past year and visited more than twenty 5th and 6th primary school classes, introducing over 600 local school children to the excitement of working in science. This success has allowed the programme to be granted key prestigious funding this year. This year the Cell EXPLORERS Roadshow is travelling to schools outside of Galway city, those schools that rarely receive science show visits. Funding from Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Science & Engineering Programme Award, and the support of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, means that the Roadshow will reach another twenty primary school classes this autumn culminating during Science week and the Galway Science and Technology festival. Further funding from a Wellcome Trust People Award is allowing new school visits to be designed and implemented by Biochemistry undergraduates as part of their degree course. Also, for the first time, Cell EXPLORERS is visiting infants, 1st & 2nd classes in an exciting collaboration with Naomi Lavelle, of Dr How’s Science Wows. The “Little Cells” project is funded by the Galway Science and Technology Festival and introduces these young children to the different kinds of cells in our bodies in a fun and interactive way. Make sure you explore the extraordinary with Cell EXPLORERS this year! About the Wellcome Trust The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests. www.wellcome.ac.uk - Ends -
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President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, honoured at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway was honoured with the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Engineering Award at the fourth annual Engineers Ireland Excellence Award ceremony in the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin on Friday, 8th November. Dr Browne, a graduate from NUI Galway and a native of County Westmeath, has had an international career that spans both industry and education. He spent a number of years working with Nortel Networks in Canada and Ireland and has also consulted with a wide range of Irish and international corporations, overseas universities as well as public and private bodies. The twelfth and current President of NUI Galway has published over 200 academic papers and 15 books, including translations into French and Chinese. He was awarded a Doctor of Science by the University of Manchester for published work in 1990 and he is a member of both the Royal Irish Academy, the Irish Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of Engineers Ireland. In April this year, the Minister for Health & Children, Dr James Reilly T.D. appointed Dr Browne as the Chair of the Children’s Hospital Group Board to oversee the merger of the three children’s hospitals in advance of the move to the chosen site in Dublin. Accepting the award Dr Jim Browne said, “I am delighted and humbled to receive this award from Engineers Ireland, and all the more so given the high standing and professionalism of Irish engineers. I had the great honour to serve as President of Engineers Ireland in 2008 / 2009. During that time I had the opportunity to see, at first hand, the tremendous contribution that engineers make to all sectors of the Irish economy and society. At NUI Galway, we are teaching and inspiring the next generation of engineers, preparing them to make their mark on the future of Irish engineering.” Commenting on the award, Engineers Ireland Director General and Chartered Engineer, John Power, said, “I am delighted to present the Outstanding Contribution Award to Jim; his leadership role is reflected in the number and variety of his memberships including the editorial boards of a number of international research journals, the Senate of the National University of Ireland and the Review Group on Engineering Research Centres in the UK, to name just a few. “In addition to the significant contribution he has made to the engineering profession, Jim is well recognised as most approachable, friendly and helpful by all his peers, colleagues and indeed students. He is a shining example of what is wonderful about engineers and the profession and is totally dedicated to Ireland's recovery in both word and deed.” Mr Power added. The fourth Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards also included awards for: Engineering Project of the Year Award, sponsored by the NRA – East West Interconnector, EirGrid Plc Chartered Engineer of the Year Award - Kevin Harnett, Chartered Engineer shortlisted for his contribution to the project ‘Development of a Commercial Scale Tidal Stream Turbine’ with OpenHyrdo Engineering Education Award – Best in Class 2013, sponsored by CRH Plc - Online Engineering Education – Institute of Sligo Technology of the Year Award, sponsored by the NSAI - Enhanced Wind Turbine - Airsynergy Environmental Infrastructure Award, sponsored by EPA – Mullingar Water Treatment Scheme, Contractors: Veolia Water Ltd, BAM Civil Ltd, Pierse Contracting Ltd, Consulting engineers: J.B. Barry & Partners Ltd / Byrne Looby Partners, Westmeath County Council Leadership Award, sponsored by Shell E&P Limited - John Barry, Chartered Engineer, Programme director for Irish Water Volunteer of the Year Award – Peter Tiernan, Chartered Engineer, Thomand region International Engineer Award sponsored by ESB –Niall McDermott, Chartered Engineer, Director of the International Group at J.B. Barry and Partners Limited Best Paper / Presentation Award, sponsored by Griffiths & Armour and Beale and Company - ‘Titanic Belfast – Designing an Icon’, presented by: Dr. Michael Shaw, Chartered Engineer, Barry McAllister, Chartered Engineer, Paul McGettigan, Chartered Engineer, RPS Group Belfast Innovative Student of the Year Award, sponsored by Siemens - Patrick Byrnes, Cork Institute of Technology, Innovative Student Engineer - Level 8 and Alastair Chambers, Institute of Technology Carlow, Innovative Student Engineer - Level 7 Continuing Professional Development Employer of the Year Award, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland – joint winners, Abbott Ireland, Sligo and Cavan and Dromone Engineering, Meath -Ends-
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Public lecture on ‘Exploring Mars, Discovering Earth’ as part of Science Fortnight at NUI Galway
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
NUI Galway’s Astronomy Society will host the first Science Fortnight, running from 11-22 November. The Science Fortnight will take place in conjunction with National Science Week and the Galway Science and Technology Festival, with all events taking place on campus. As part of Science Fortnight, the NUI Galway Astronomy Society will welcome Kevin Nolan for a special public talk entitled ‘Exploring Mars, Discovering Earth’ on Wednesday, 20 November. Kevin Nolan is a lecturer in physics at the Institute of Technology Tallaght and Co-ordinator to Ireland for The Planetary Society. Kevin is nearing completion of a part-time PhD involving design of a software image analysis pipeline for the European Space Agency’s INTEGRAL, a multi-wavelength space observatory. He is a published author of Mars, a Cosmic Stepping Stone, which looks at the effects and relevance of Mars exploration. This talk will discuss how people have attributed naïve "Earth-like" characteristics to our sister planet for centuries. Though early space missions obliterated those early perceptions - suggesting Mars to be a dormant world - recent missions reveal a planet with characteristics and past activity suggestive of early Earth-like characteristics now regarded as relevant to the emergence of life. With a well set out strategy, the exploration of Mars has finally matured and is expected to deliver valuable scientific insights. This talk will examine some of these issues and present the latest findings from the MSL-Curiosity Rover currently exploring the surface of the Red Planet. The talk will take place at 7pm in the Colm Ó hÉocha Theatre in the Arts Millennium Building (AM250), NUI Galway. This talk is free and open to the general public. The NUI Galway Astronomy society is in its second year with nearly 600 members. The main goal of the society is to promote astronomy, both recreationally and academically. Throughout the year the society hosts a series of talks on astronomy and organise events to increase general awareness and understanding of astronomy. They work with the Galway Astronomy club and are supported by the University's Centre for Astronomy. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Researcher Awarded Prestigious Wellcome Trust Award
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
The Wellcome Trust Award is worth almost €1.3m over 5 years for research into cell meiosis and genetics, work which could lead to advancements in human reproduction and fertility treatments Dr Elaine Dunleavy of NUI Galway has received an award under the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)/Health Research Board (HRB)/ Wellcome Trust Biomedical Partnership. The announcement was made at a joint partnership meeting held in the Irish Embassy in London. The vision of the Wellcome Trust, the UK-based global charity, is to achieve extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. This is accomplished through a broad range of funding schemes in support of outstanding researchers and innovative research programmes in biomedical and clinical research. Dr Elaine Dunleavy will receive almost €1.3m in funding over five years for her research into the area of cell meiosis and genetics. Fundamental to the understanding of genetic diseases, including cancer progression, are the mechanisms that control chromosome segregation during cell division. Using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, Dr Dunleavy will examine how the DNA-binding protein ‘CENP-A’ regulates chromosome segregation, particularly during the production of eggs and sperm. This research could lead to potential advancements in human reproduction and fertility treatments. Commenting on the awards, Prof. Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The SFI-HRB Wellcome Trust Biomedical Partnership recognises and funds outstanding scientists in the field of biomedical research. I would like to congratulate and Dr Dunleavy on her achievement in obtaining funding through this highly competitive process. I would encourage the Irish biomedical research community to apply for funding under the partnership and have the quality of their research work recognised internationally by the Wellcome Trust” Commenting on the announcement of the awards Dr Kevin Moses, Director of Science Funding at the Wellcome Trust, said “We are delighted to have awarded a Research Career Development Fellowship to Dr Elaine Dunleavy. These are prestigious fellowships that aim to provide the brightest biomedical scientists in Ireland with the best possible start to their independent research careers. We hope that Dr Dunleavy are well on their way to becoming the scientific leaders of the future. We look forward to hearing from researchers of this calibre from the Irish biomedical and public health research community.” Welcoming the announcement, Enda Connolly, Chief Executive of the Health Research Board said ‘Given the level of competition for Wellcome Trust funding, Dr Dunleavy must be commended for topping international standards to secure these awards. The SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Partnership has opened up a wealth of opportunity for researchers across a wide variety of Wellcome Trust award schemes. Given the Health Research Boards investments to develop and build capacity in clinical research in recent years, we believe even more Irish researchers will now be well placed to successfully compete in these schemes in the future’. -ends-
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