Monday, 20 February 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies and Comhrá Ceoil have announced details of the first talk in this year’s Martin Reilly Lecture Series, which will be given by Dr Éamonn Costello. Entitled ‘Muintir Chonamara agus Oireachtas na Gaeilge: The role of the Conamara Gaeltacht community in shaping Ireland’s oldest festival’, the lecture examines the engagement of the Gaeltacht community of Connemara with Oireachtas na Gaeilge throughout its history and takes place on Tuesday, 28 February at 6.30pm in the Galway City Library. Established in 1897 by members of the Gaelic League, the Oireachtas is Ireland’s oldest arts festival and is primarily concerned with promoting and celebrating the Irish language. However, for much of its history the native Irish speaking community, an Ghaeltacht, had little impact or input into the festival’s programme of events. This all changed in the early 1970s when the Connemara-based civil rights movement, Gluaiseacht Cearta Siabhialta na Gaeltachta, turned the Irish language issue from being primarily a nationalist cause to one which was primarily concerned with minority rights. The actions of the Gaeltacht civil rights movement inspired the Connemara Gaeltacht community to appropriate the Oireachtas for a period in the 1970-1980s. This period of appropriation and the events leading up to it will be the focus of the talk. Originally from An Cheathrú Rua, Dr Costello is an Irish traditional musician and holds an MA and PhD in ethnomusicology, as well as a BA in Irish Music and Dance. He currently teaches Irish in the Irish language department of the School of Culture and Communication, at the University of Limerick; he is secretary of the International Council for Traditional Music Ireland (ICTMIre); and is a founding member of TradSong, a research cluster based at UL. This series of free talks is dedicated to Martin Reilly, the celebrated Galway uilleann piper, and gives an opportunity to researcher-practitioners in Irish traditional music and dance to present their work in a public forum.  The success of the series thus far confirms the interest in research of this kind in Galway, where traditional music and dance are part of the cultural fabric of the city. For more information on this and other planned talks in the series email Martinreillylectureseries@gmail.com or follow on Facebook at Martin-Reilly-Lecture-Series. -Ends-

Friday, 17 February 2017

NUI Galway publish new mathematical formula on soft ‘dielectric’ membranes Applied mathematicians from NUI Galway have today published a formula which will be of huge benefit to materials scientists and soft robotics engineers. The team have worked out how much voltage and deformation soft ‘dielectric’ membranes can take before they break. Soft ‘dielectric’ membranes are used on the cutting edge of science to develop artificial muscles, soft robotics, energy harvesters and ‘smart clothes’. These lightweight soft materials deploy and stiffen when put under high voltage, but until now, there has been a big challenge in knowing what the breaking point of these membranes is.  Professor Michel Destrade, at the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics in NUI Galway explains: “If you can remember the scene in Batman Begins where this huge bat cape emerges from a tiny folded piece of material, that’s the kind of technology which is being developed currently in some labs around the world, especially in Harvard University and in China. It’s the electric voltage that allows these special membranes to expand. Until now it was not fully understood how much voltage these membranes could sustain. Some are a millimetre thick, but if they thin out too much when they stretch with the voltage, it can lead to a short-circuit and a catastrophic breakdown. We hope our mathematical formula will help advance science in this area.” Dr Giuseppe Zurlo of NUI Galway, co-author of the study, adds: “The very near and real applications for these materials are artificial human muscles, or soft robots which can help organs function.” Together with collaborators at Politecnico di Bari in Italy, the mathematicians worked out a simple formula to link the physical properties of the membrane to the breakdown amount of stretch. “The final equation is very compact”, says Dr Zurlo, “and it will provide most useful safety guidelines for future experiments on these fascinating materials.” The problem had stumped material scientists for years and its solution is published today in the prestigious Physical Review Letters. Professor Destrade and Dr Zurlo are now working on experiments with engineering colleagues at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China. To view the full paper in Physical Review Letters visit:  https://journals.aps.org/prl/accepted/5f076Y18Kbb1ac4ed8f93f49a3ee764f0dd938eb8 or http://www.maths.nuigalway.ie/~destrade/Publis/destrade_109.pdf  Video link of a membrane deforming under a voltage: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ybk5am3s7pmcdwd/video.avi?dl=0  -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

NUI Galway’s Discipline of English and School of Humanities will host an evening to celebrate the work and teaching of writer Mike McCormack to mark his recent major successes on the national and international literary scene. The public reception will take place on Wednesday, 22 February in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle at NUI Galway at 7pm. Last year, McCormack was awarded the prestigious Goldsmiths Prize at the University of London for his novel Solar Bones. The same novel subsequently won the Eason Book Club Irish Novel of the Year and overall Irish Book of the Year at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards. Speaking on the announcement of the Goldsmiths Prize to Solar Bones Blake Morrison, Chair of the judging panel, said: “Politics, family, art, marriage, health, civic duty and the environment are just a few of the themes it touches on, in a prose that’s lyrical yet firmly rooted. Its subject may be an ordinary working life, but it is itself an extraordinary work.” NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, who will speak at the reception, said: “On behalf of the entire University community I’d like to congratulate Mike on his achievement and his recent success. He is in the vanguard of a new generation of Irish literary talent and we at NUI Galway are very proud of our association with Mike over many years - both as an alumnus and a member of our academic staff. Mike’s most recent success with Solar Bones has brought further international recognition for his writing and is a source of great pride to all of us who know and value his work.” McCormack is the longstanding teacher of fiction on NUI Galway’s MA in Writing, and during the current academic year he has taken up the directorship of the university’s BA with Creative Writing programme, on which he has also been a teacher and mentor. He will be joined on the evening by friends and colleagues from the University including Dr Elizabeth Tilley, Head of the Discipline of English, who said: “Mike’s colleagues in the Discipline of English are delighted to have the opportunity to congratulate him publicly on these wonderful awards. Our students and staff have long been aware of Mike’s creative talent; it is entirely in order for the larger University community to share with us now in celebrating his work.” Professor Felix Ó Murchadha, Head of the School of Humanities, further emphasizes McCormack’s role as a creative-writing educator: “We are so fortunate to have a writer of Mike McCormack’s stature teaching and mentoring in the School of Humanities. Not alone is he an author of international renown as evidenced by his recent awards, but he generously shares his craft with students here at NUI Galway. Mike’s colleagues in Humanities are delighted to celebrate the fitting recognition he has recently received.” Also taking part in the celebrations on the evening will be former students of McCormack’s at NUI Galway who themselves have been enjoying recent successes in the writing and publishing world. Readings from some of McCormack’s previous works will culminate in a reading by the author himself from Solar Bones.  -Ends- 

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance will stage its first ever play in March, the classic American drama Machinal. Sophie Treadwell’s 1928 play was inspired by true events, and follows a young woman suffocated by a restrictive, unfeeling machine-like society. Haunting and provocative, Treadwell’s expressionistic play is made immediately relevant in this new production that updates the piece to reflect our contemporary technology-saturated age. Produced and performed by undergraduates of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, this production will showcase the talents of a new emerging generation of exciting theatre-makers. The play is directed by Dr Ian R. Walsh, a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. His books include Experimental Irish Theatre and The Theatre of Enda Walsh. His professional directing credits include Purple Path to the Poppy Field, The Magic Flute, Orfeo ed Eurydice, The Wandering Scholar and Riders to the Sea. Speaking ahead of the production, Dr Walsh said: “This will be the first full production in the new state-of-the-art O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, home to Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. Our students are delighted to stage this innovative play for Galway audiences.” Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, Patrick Lonergan stated that the production of Machinal is part of the University’s commitment to staging new work: “We are staging four new productions this year with our students, two written by women and two written by men – with further details to be announced in the months ahead. Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal is a famous but rarely seen play that will showcase the best of our facilities and our students’ talents. As Galway moves towards 2020 and the European Capital of Culture, we are delighted to play our part in contributing to the cultural richness of Galway and the wider region.” The show runs from 1-3 March at 8pm with a special Saturday matinee on Saturday, 4 March at 3pm. Tickets are available for €5 from the SocsBox at NUI Galway in Áras na Mac Léinn or phone 091 492852. -Ends-              

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Professor Robert Lahue of the Centre for Chromosome Biology and the Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway, has received a newly launched research grant to provide new science findings that will underpin his research on identifying potential treatments for Huntington’s disease. The BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council UK) - Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) joint research grant awarded funding of almost €700,000 between NUI Galway and the University of Leicester. Professor Lahue is just the second NUI Galway researcher to be funded under this new award scheme. Professor Lahue will co-lead a research programme in conjunction with Professor John Schwabe, which will focus on the regulation of proteins that are responsible for causing neurological disease. Huntington’s disease is an inherited neurodegenerative disease that causes serious cognitive and movement defects. It is debilitating, untreatable and relentlessly fatal. It is a particularly cruel disease as children are sometimes affected more severely than their parents. Current research into Huntington’s disease has identified a potential therapeutic target, an enzyme called histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3). This enzyme is thought to dysregulate a number of important biochemical mechanisms in the brain of Huntington’s disease patients, leading to disease. Professor Lahue’s recent research also links HDAC3 to the genetic mutation that afflicts Huntington’s disease patients. The BBSRC - SFI joint research programme will focus on the molecular mechanism of how HDAC3 exacerbates the genetic basis of Huntington’s disease. Importantly, this project will use basic science approaches to explore the novel idea that HDAC3 causes genetic mutations. Speaking about the new research grant, Professor Lahue said: “The BBSRC-SFI joint funding offers a wonderful opportunity for discovery research that is linked to human health. We now have the chance to combine the expertise of Professor John Schwabe on HDACs with my group’s expertise in Huntington’s disease genetics. Together, we aim to answer important questions about how HDAC3 is connected to the disease.” Science Foundation Ireland and the BBSRC have entered into this new agreement to welcome, encourage and support research applications that cut across national boundaries involving collaborative teams led by researchers from the UK and Ireland. -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Two NUI Galway graduates, who were among the 2016 Highly Commended Entrants at the Undergraduate Awards (UA), presented their papers at the recent UPresent: Island of Ireland 2017. The event saw students and recent graduates from all around Ireland and Northern Ireland gather to present their innovative research in under three minutes to their peers, lecturers and notable academics from various institutions on the island. Law graduate Mahmoud Abukhadir from Drogheda, Co. Louth presented his paper The Case for the Establishment of an International Patent System, which was Highly Commended in the Law category in the 2016 Undergraduate Awards. Bachelor of Science graduate Claire Dooley presented her paper Targeting Fibrinogen as a Factor Contributing to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Originally from Bouladuff, Co. Tipperary, Claire’s paper was the highest ranked paper from the Island of Ireland in the Life Sciences category in the Undergraduate Awards. The Highly Commended Entrants are students and recent graduate who were placed in the top 10% of their field globally in The Undergraduate Awards 2016. Keynote speaker at UPresent: Island of Ireland, Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, Policy Advisor to the Higher Education Authority (HEA), spoke on the topic of ‘The Role of Higher Education in the Age of Populism’. She has worked as higher education policy consultant and specialist with international organisations and governments for over 15 years. -Ends-

Friday, 3 February 2017

Acmhainn Nua Oideachais do Bhéaltriail Ghaeilge na hArdteistiméireachta. Tá TG4 i gcomhar le hOllscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh tar éis suíomh nua físe a chur ar fáil ar www.tg4.ie/foghlaim do dhaltaí iar-bhunscoile atá ag ullmhú do Bhéaltriail Ghaeilge na hArdteistiméireachta. Beidh an file clúiteach as Dún na nGall, Pádraig Mac Suibhne (‘Colscaradh’), ag seoladh an tsuímh go hoifigiúil an 02 Féabhra 2017 ag 1.30 in Áras na Gaeilge in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, i gcuideachta daltaí Ardteiste ó Choláiste na Coiribe, Gaillimh.  Is acmhainn nua oideachais closamhairc TG4 Foghlaim, atá curtha in oiriúint do riachtanais dhaltaí na hArdteistiméireachta, ach is féidir le foghlaimeoirí ar leibhéal ar bith an t-ábhar seo a úsáid lena gcuid scileanna Gaeilge a fhorbairt. Tá an acmhainn seo ar fáil saor in aisce do dhaltaí agus d’fhoghlaimeoirí eile in Éirinn agus ar fud an domhain. Is furasta an suíomh gréasáin nua seo a úsáid agus beidh ábhar nua á chur ar fáil ann go leanúnach; ag tús gach seachtaine i rith na scoilbhliana, cuirfear cleachtaí nua in airde ann atá bunaithe ar mhíreanna físe ó scoth na gclár ar TG4. Tá na ceachtanna féin bunaithe ar thopaicí an tSiollabais Ardteistiméireachta agus ar fáil saor in aisce. Lena chois sin, beidh léiriú físe ar fáil ar TG4 Foghlaim ar bhrí liteartha agus ar bhrí mheafarach na ndánta atá ar an Siollabas, mar aon le próifíl iomlán ar na filí agus cur síos ar chúlra na ndánta. Is comhpháirtíocht idir TG4 agus Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh an togra seo agus táthar ag súil go rachaidh sé chun tairbhe do dhaltaí agus do mhúinteoirí araon. Deir Leascheannasaí TG4, Pádhraic Ó Ciardha, go bhfuil an togra seo curtha le chéile mar thoradh ar iarratais go leor atá déanta ag múinteoirí (agus a gcuid daltaí) ar an gcainéal le beagán blianta: “Is cóir agus is deas linn togra oideachasúil mar seo a sheoladh mar chruthúnas breise ar an leas poiblí a dhéanann TG4 ag cur na Gaeilge chun cinn ar fud na cruinne.” Leagann Príomhfheidhmeannach Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Dónall Ó Braonáin, béim ar thábhacht an togra: “Is iontach go bhfuil taighde ceannródaíoch ar an sealbhú teanga á roinnt ar mhúinteoirí agus mic léinn ardteistiméireachta a bhuíochas d’acmhainní foghlama den chéad scoth.” Tuilleadh eolais ó caroline.ni.dhubhchoin@tg4.ie nó 091 505050. -Críoch- TG4 FOGHLAIM Oral Irish Leaving Certificate Examination Resource TG4 has teamed up with NUI Galway to create TG4 Foghlaim, an innovative and attractive  new audiovisual resource website that will prove of great assistance to postprimary students preparing for the Oral Irish Leaving Certificate Examination. Renowned poet, Pádraig Mac Suibhne, whose poem ‘Colscaradh’ features on the Irish Leaving Certificate Syllabus, will launch the site officially on Thursday the 2nd of February at 1.30 in Áras na Gaeilge in NUI Galway. Pádraig will be joined by TG4 presenter Fiona Ní Fhlatharta and TG4’s Deputy CEO, Pádhraic Ó Ciardha. Dónall Ó Braonáin, CEO of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge will also be present together with Leaving Certificate students from Coláiste na Coiribe, Gaillimh. TG4 Foghlaim aims to ensure that students are well-informed on topics relevant to the Oral Irish exam, which is worth 40% of the overall subject grade. Other learners of all levels and ages, both nationally and internationally, are also encouraged to avail of the website free of charge to improve their oral Irish fluency.  The free, user-friendly site encourages both teachers and students alike to engage with audiovisual content and downloadable lesson plans. TG4 Foghlaim has been careful to maintain a balance between the three major dialects that are represented in its content. This has been extracted from popular TG4 programmes or created exclusively for TG4 Foghlaim. The new aid also offers visual interpretations of the poetry set for the Oral Exam. These interpretations not only explore the literal and metaphorical meanings of the poems, but also feature video profiles of the five poets who composed the works in question. This new project is the latest is a series of partnerships between TG4 and NUI Galway for the benefit of both students and teachers alike. TG4’s Deputy CEO,Pádhraic Ó Ciardha, has revealed that this project has been the result of regular and increasing feedback from  both teachers and students  over recent years: “We are delighted to launch this important and highly visual project which illustrates the importance that TG4 places on the development of Irish throughout the world.” CEO of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Dónall Ó Braonáin, points to the relevance of the project: “It is terrific that Leaving Certificate students and teachers will benefit directly from leading research in language acquisition through first-class learning resources.” More information from caroline.ni.dhubhchoin@tg4.ie or 091 505050  -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2017 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 17th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 4 March, 2017 in the Bailey Allen Hall located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 90,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme will this year boast an impressive roll call of 100 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins; Olympian Olive Loughnane; Rugby great Ciarán FitzGerald; RTÉ broadcaster Sean O’Rourke; Attorney General, Máire Whelan; former Creganna CEO, Helen Ryan, Tony Award-winning actress, Marie Mullen and broadcaster Gráinne Seoige. The winners of the six alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2017: Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - sponsored by Galway University Foundation  - Mike McCormack, Irish novelist and short story writer. Alumni Award for Business and Commerce – sponsored by Bank of Ireland   -  Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia. Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government – sponsored by Ronan Daly Jermyn   -  Dr Tom Courtney, Corporate Partner in Arthur Cox. Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology – sponsored by AIB  - Anne Marie Farrell, Head of Behavioural Economics Research Global SMB Marketing, Google. Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic  - Dr Eileen Naughten, Retired Consultant Paediatrician. Joint Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Bank of Ireland  - Dr Eoghan Clifford, Paralympic medal winner and NUI Galway Lecturer  - Deirdre Mongan, Paralympic Athlete                        Speaking on the announcement of the Award recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their professions and excel in their pursuits at national and international levels. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University’s more than 90,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater for the Gala Banquet in March.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 494310 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.guf.ie   -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

€945,000 funding over four years through Horizon 2020 programme Industry-academia research consortium will enhance intersectoral and transnational cooperation CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway is one of the partners involved in a new international industry-academia consortium. The 3D-NEONET consortium aims to accelerate the development of therapeutic interventions for cancer and eye disease through enhanced intersectoral and transnational research cooperation. The consortium is bringing together a unique group of microbiologists, cancer biologists, chemists, material scientists, mechanical engineers, ocular pharmacologists, geneticists and toxicologists from nine academic and nine non-academic partner organisations in seven countries. Through staff exchanges of periods ranging from one month to one year, participants will learn new skills, share knowledge and have the opportunity to work on joint research and innovation projects in oncology and ophthalmology in academic and commercial institutions across Europe. The aim is to accelerate the development of therapeutic interventions for oncology and ophthalmology. The Drug Discovery and Delivery Network for Oncology and Eye Therapeutics (3D-NEONET) consortium has been awarded €945,000, over four years, under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (MSCA-RISE). Dr Breandán Kennedy, Associate Professor in the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and a Fellow of the UCD Conway Institute will lead the 3D-NEO-NET consortium. Dr Kennedy said: “Through 3D-NEONET, we will address key challenges facing research and innovation in Europe today. University graduates can struggle to transit smoothly into industry employment; research SMEs may have limited capacity to capitalise on new technology or find suitably experienced staff; and there is often unnecessary duplication of resources across Europe due to individual institutions working in isolation.” He added: “This programme is a fantastic opportunity to enhance career development, facilitate knowledge sharing and enable new skills acquisition. Ultimately, this will form a sustainable network of academics and SMEs who can collectively overcome obstacles in the development of therapeutics for oncology and ophthalmology.” Spanish consortium partner ZeClinics will exchange staff with QUB and CÚRAM at NUI Galway, providing these two academic partners with tools and expertise to test in vivo efficacy and safety of their drug delivery systems. Dr Javier Terriente, CSO, ZeClinics, said: “The goal of all 3D-NEONET institutions is to have an impact on people’s health. This initiative will allow sharing knowledge and bridging experts from areas and sectors that otherwise would never meet. We are eager to share our experience in drug discovery with top students in the ocular and oncology fields. For ZeClinics students, it will be great to learn from the best minds in these relevant therapeutic areas.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: “Our goal at CÚRAM is to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from chronic illness. We are delighted to be part of this consortium and we hope that the continued sharing of expertise and knowledge will lead to efficient translation of research results that benefit the patient as well as upskilling Irish researchers involved in developing the next generation of medical devices.” Over the next four years, the proposed programme of work will include multiple staff exchange interactions among the 18 partners. Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, said: “This new pan-European ophthalmic and oncology research consortium, which UCS is leading, will not only provide individual researchers with skills that can improve their career prospects, both in and outside academia, but will also boost research and innovation capacity and output among participating universities and industry partners, and ultimately impact Europe's economy and society.” Professor Feely added: “It is very encouraging to see the involvement by UCD researchers from across so many disciplines in the College of Science, College of Health and Agricultural Sciences and College of Engineering and Architecture in this new consortium.” ENDS

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Henry Glassie, Professor of Folklore at Indiana University will give the Third Annual Jean Ritchie Memorial Lecture on ‘The Southern Mountain Music of Ola Belle Reed (1916-2002)’. The lecture will take place on Thursday, 2 February from 1-2pm in The Cube, Áras na Mac Léinn. Bella Reed was an American folk singer, songwriter and banjo player whose work engaged with Appalachian life and traditions. She was one of the greatest ever performers of Appalachian music. Professor Glassie has co-authored of Ola Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line, which includes rare recordings of Reed’s music. In 1966, Professor Glassie first heard her play in the town of Oxford, Pennsylvania, where Alex and Ola Belle Reed and the New River Boys and Girls performed Southern mountain music live, on the air, in the back of the Campbell’s Corner general store. Over the next two years, he recorded her repertoire of folk ballads, minstrel songs, country standards, and originals. He also chronicled the remarkable story of the migration of communities from the Blue Ridge Mountains toward the Mason-Dixon Line prior to WWII. Professor Glassie’s work has received many awards, including the Chicago Folklore Prize. In 2010, he was given the ‘American Folklore Society’s Award for a Lifetime of Scholarly Achievement’, and the prestigious ‘Charles Homer Haskins Prize of the American Council of Learned Societies’ in 2011. -Ends-  

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Researchers in NUI Galway have issued a call for patients and healthy volunteers to participate in a scientific study to unlock some of the mysteries around schizophrenia. iRELATE is a European Research Council funded project examining the impact of genes, early life experiences and the immune system on the brain. A particular focus of the iRELATE study is to understand how genetic and environmental factors impact on social thinking and interaction, a key factor in schizophrenia related disability. A chronic and severe mental disorder, schizophrenia (which affects between 0.5-1% of the  population) usually manifests between the ages of 18 and 30, affecting how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Among that age group, the World Health organisation lists schizophrenia among the top five most disabling conditions, ahead of blindness and paraplegia. Gary Donohoe, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Neuroimaging and cognitive Genomics (NICOG) at NUI Galway, is heading up the research project. “Schizophrenia is poorly understood by society as a whole, and there is also an incredible amount that we as clinicians and scientists have yet to understand. In this study we are trying to better understand schizophrenia by looking at how our brains process the social information that allows us to negotiate social situations. We know that there are genetic and environmental factors involved, but how these combine is uncertain. One idea is that these factors may influence brain development via our immune system – a biological system increasingly implicated in schizophrenia risk.” iRELATE will use a combination of state of the art neuroimaging, cognitive testing and molecular and genetic techniques to examine differences in genes and immune function across research participants, and how these may affect the brain. Research will be carried out across two sites in Galway and Dublin: at University Hospital Galway’s HRB Clinical Research Facility  and St. James’s Hospital’s Wellcome-HRB Clinical Research Facility and Centre for Advanced Medical Imaging (CAMI), in collaboration with colleagues from Trinity College Dublin’s Department of Psychiatry. The iRELATE project is currently recruiting research volunteers, including patients with  schizophrenia, and healthy volunteers. “We are asking people to reach out to our team to find out a little bit more about the project and how they may possibly be part of us and help us better understand this condition. Learning about this condition will better inform treatments of the future.” To find out more about volunteering for iRELATE, e-mail: iRELATE@nuigalway.ie ,  telephone 091 495 953, or visit us on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/irelateproject/  or at https://www.nuigalway.ie/nicog/irelate/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies has announced Sarah Ghriallas as the Sean-nós Singer-in-Residence for 2017. Originally from Muiceanach, Co. Galway, Sarah has long been acknowledged as a sean-nós singer of exceptional talent, winning the coveted Corn Uí Riada award at the Oireachtas for the first time in 1984. That same prize has also been taken home by her son Michael, her sisters Nóra and Nan, and her niece Celia Ní Fhátharta. Sarah’s was a household full of singing and music-making and she credits her parents, Pádraig and Máire, and her wider family for instilling her first love of singing. Some of the songs which are most associated with Sarah include ‘Sagart na Cúile Báine’, Condae Mhaigh Eo’, ‘Táilliúir an Mhagaidh’ agus ‘Eileanóir na Rún’. To begin her residency, Sarah will give a series of five sean-nós singing workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, beginning on Wednesday, 8 February at 7pm. Workshops are free and open to all. This scheme is run with support from Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. For further information contact Samantha Williams in the Centre for Irish Studies at 091 492051 or Samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends- Sarah Ghriallais Ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach ag OÉ Gaillimh Is cúis mhór áthais é d’Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil Sarah Ghriallais ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis i mbliana. Is duine de chlann Ghriallais as Muiceanach-idir-Dhá-Sháile í Sarah Ghriallais a bhfuil cáil na hamhránaíochta sean-nóis uirthi le blianta fada. Ocht n-uaire ar fad atá Corn Uí Riada buaite ag na Griallaiseacha, idir Sarah, a mac Michael, a cuid deirfiúracha Nóra agus Nan agus a neacht Celia Ní Fhátharta. Is sa mbliain 1984 a thug Sarah féin léi duais mhór an Oireachtais, Corn Uí Riada. Is óna hathair, Pádraig Ghriallais, agus a máthair, Máire, a phioc Sarah suas na hamhráin an chéad lá riamh. Baile an-cheolmhar a bhí i Muiceanach ina hóige, dar le Sarah, le bosca ceoil i ngach teach agus bhí na damhsóirí ar an sean-nós chomh fairsing ann is a bhí na hamhránaithe ag an am. Is iad na hamhráin is mó a chasann agus a thaitníonn le Sarah ná ‘Sagart na Cúile Báine’, Condae Mhaigh Eo’, ‘Táilliúir an Mhagaidh’ agus ‘Eileanóir na Rún’. Beidh sraith ceardlann á reachtáil ag Sarah san Ollscoil agus in áiteanna eile san Earrach agus arís sa bhFómhar agus beidh a chuid amhrán á dtaifeadadh aici don gcartlann sean-nóis atá á cur le chéile le blianta beaga anuas ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh. Cuirfear tús leis na ceardlanna i seomra seimineáir an Ionaid ar Bhóthar na Drioglainne, Dé Céadaoin, 8Feabhra, ag 7pm. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus fáilte roimh daoine a bhfuil spéis acu san amhránaíocht. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon agus Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, a mhaoiníonn an tionscnamh seo. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams, Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, ag 091 492051 nó Samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

NUI Galway will hold its Postgraduate Open Day on Tuesday, 7 February, from 1-5pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day is an important event for professionals and graduates who are focusing on their future, with an aim of upgrading their qualification, broadening their skills-set, increasing their specialist knowledge and ultimately improving their job prospects. The Open Day will showcase over 160 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, and an extensive range of research Masters and doctoral research options. Over 100 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. The event will not just highlight the pathways for attendees to progress in their current career track or area of study but will also present the growing number of options for graduates and professionals who want to change track and pursue an alternative career. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “In addition to a variety of interdisciplinary conversion courses, many of the Masters on offer are open to graduates from multiple undergraduate courses. The Open Day will include a panel discussion on the topic ‘Changing Direction’ with expertise from all corners of the University available to give advice and answer questions for those exploring their options in new fields of study.” A key part of the decision to pursue a postgraduate qualification is finding out as much as possible about the application process and the funding options available. The upcoming Open Day brings together all the key people and organisations that provide support to postgraduate students. The recent announcement by the Department of Education and Skills on increased investment in maintenance grants in 2017/2018 will benefit over 1,000 students. SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), the national awarding authority for all higher and further education student grants, will be giving talks at the Open Day and on hand to answer queries about grants and funding. NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative research centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media and Film Studies and Regenerative Medicine. The Open Day will showcase new programme offerings for 2017 including Masters programmes in Cellular Manufacturing, Astronomical Instrumentation and Technology, Politics and Sociology and Computational Genomics. To view NUI Galway’s suite of new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day  or simply call in on the day. To apply for an NUI Galway postgraduate course visit www.pac.ie/nuigalway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

CÚRAM Investigator, Dr Manus Biggs, is one of three Irish researchers to receive a newly launched Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) - Science Foundation Ireland joint research grant of over €1 million, awarded between NUI Galway and the University of Glasgow. The BBSRC and Science Foundation Ireland have entered an agreement to welcome, encourage and support research applications that cut across national boundaries involving collaborative teams led by researchers from the UK and Ireland. Dr Biggs will co-lead a research programme in conjunction with Professor Matthew Dalby, Professor of Cell Engineering (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology) at the University of Glasgow. The programme will focus on the development of nanobiomimetic electrically active scaffolds for bone regeneration, with an aim of producing rapid, large area bone grafts in the laboratory environment. Bone tissue regeneration remains an important challenge in the field of tissue engineering and sees a transplantation frequency second only to that of blood. Bone grafting is the current standard treatment; however, given the inherent limitations of this approach, bone tissue engineering and advanced biomaterials that mimic the structure and function of native tissues hold potential as alternative strategies to regeneration. Current studies in regenerative bone scaffolds suggest that further biomimicry is required before a complete solution to bone regeneration can be delivered. Further evidence has been gathered on the importance of minute electrical and mechanical cues on cell differentiation and function. “This project will further our current understanding of the joint role of electromechanical stimulation on stem cell function. We need to focus on understanding the cellular response to these subtle electrical and mechanical cues,” says Dr Biggs “We can then understand more fully how these influence cell function and tissue regeneration.” This joint programme will focus on combining piezoelectric regenerative scaffolds, (piezoelectric materials have the ability to generate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress) with nano mechanical stimulation to develop new bone cells from stem cells. CÚRAM is the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway. Supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry partners, CÚRAM’s goal is to radically improve quality of life for patients with chronic illness by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. The Centre’s innovative approach incorporates biomaterials, drug delivery, cell based technologies, glycosciences and device design to enhance, develop and validate both traditional and new combinational medical devices, from molecular design stage to implant manufacturing. CÚRAM's devices are being developed with strong clinical collaborations to enable rapid translation of research findings to clinical application. -Ends-

Monday, 30 January 2017

The finals of the Independent.ie Higher Education Fitzgibbon Cup senior hurling championship will be hosted by NUI Galway on 24-25 February, and were officially launched today at the University. It was announced that the final of the Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup will be held in Pearse Stadium, Salthill. The semi-finals of the competition will be held in Dangan, the NUI Galway Sports Grounds, along with the semi-finals of the Ryan Cup and the Fergal Maher Cups. The final of the Cup, which is sponsored by Independent.ie for the third year, will also be broadcast live on TG4 and takes place on Saturday, 25 February, 2017. The annual Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup dinner will take place on Friday, 24 February in the Westwood Hotel, where the late Joe McDonagh’s association with Gaelic Games at the University will be celebrated on a night I gCuimhne ar Joe. While in college, Joe played for the UCG football and hurling teams, winning a Fresher’s hurling medal in 1972 and featuring in several Sigerson and Fitzgibbon campaigns. As a postgraduate student in 1977 he finally collected his Fitzgibbon Cup medal, having beaten Maynooth in the final, 1-14, 1-12. In the history of the Cup, NUI Galway has won the title 10 times, the last in 2010 when hosted by the University. Previous to that that was 37 years ago in 1980 when also hosted in the west. In the 2016 championship, Mary Immaculate College hurlers were crowned title holders for the first time after defeating their local rivals University of Limerick in extra time. Trinity College Dublin took in the Ryan Cup, and IT Sligo took the Fergal Maher Cup. Commenting on the upcoming championship, Mike Heskin, NUI Galway Director of Sport, said: “NUI Galway is delighted to host the Fitzgibbon Cup sponsored by Independent.ie at the NUI Galway Sport Complex in Dangan. It will be a great festival of hurling with inter county players from all over the country. We are very grateful for the assistance provided by Galway GAA, Croke Park and our sponsors Bank of Ireland in hosting this event.  NUI Galway have won the competition on ten occasions and we hope 2017 will see the University back in the top flight of third level hurling. I would especially encourage all hurling lovers in the West of Ireland to come and support the teams over the weekend.” Arlene Regan, Marketing Manager, Independent.ie said; “We are delighted to be sponsors of the Independent.ie Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups for the third year running. These competitions showcase the best of the young GAA talent in the country and as a media organisation that is steeped in GAA tradition, we value our partnership greatly. Best of luck to all the participants this year - if last year is anything to go by, there is a very exciting few months ahead.” -Ends- Corn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh in 2017  Reáchtálfaidh OÉ Gaillimh craobhchomórtas Chorn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie, an craobhchomórtas ardoideachais iománaíochta sinsir, an 24-25 Feabhra, agus seoladh go hoifigiúil an comórtas san Ollscoil inniu. Beidh cluiche ceannais Chorn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie ar siúl ar Pháirc an Phiarsaigh i mBóthar na Trá.  Beidh na cluichí leathcheannais ar siúl sa Daingean, Ionad Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh, mar aon le cluichí leathcheannais Chorn Uí Riain agus Chorn Fergal Maher. Craolfar beo ar TG4 cluiche ceannais an Choirn, atá urraithe ag Independent.ie don tríú bliain anois, Dé Sathairn, an 25 Feabhra 2017. Beidh dinnéar bliantúil Chorn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie ar siúl Dé hAoine, an 24 Feabhra in Óstán an Westwood, áit a ndéanfar ceiliúradh ar an gceangal a bhí ag Seosamh Mac Donncha leis na Cluichí Gaelacha san Ollscoil ag an ócáid I gCuimhne ar Joe. Sa choláiste, d'imir Joe ar fhoirne peile agus iománaíochta COG. Bhuaigh sé bonn iománaíochta sa chéad bhliain i 1972 agus bhí sé páirteach in go leor comórtais Sigerson agus Mhic Giobúin. Mar iarchéimí i 1977, bhuaigh sé bonn i gCorn Mhic Giobúin sa deireadh, nuair a bhí an bua ag COG ar Mhá Nuad sa chluiche ceannais, 1-14, 1-12. Tá an Corn buaite ag OÉ Gaillimh deich n-uaire. Is in 2010 a bhuaigh an Ollscoil go deireadh é nuair a bhí an comórtas ar siúl san ollscoil. Tá sé 37 bliain ó shin, i 1980 ó reáchtáladh an Corn san iarthar. I gcraobh 2016, ba iad iománaithe Choláiste Mhuire gan Smál a bhuaigh an corn den chéad uair riamh nuair a fuair siad an ceann is fearr ar a gcomharsana Ollscoil Luimnigh in am breise. Ba iad Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath a bhuaigh Corn Uí Riain, agus ba iad IT Shligigh a bhuaigh Corn Fergal Maher. Ag labhairt dó faoin gcraobhchomórtas, dúirt Mike Heskin, Stiúrthóir Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh: “Cúis áthas do OÉ Gaillimh Corn Mhic Giobúin a reáchtáil, urraithe ag Independent.ie in Ionad Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh sa Daingean. Ócáid iontach iománaíochta a bheas inti agus beidh imreoirí contae as fud fad na tíre páirteach. Táimid an-bhuíoch as an gcúnamh ó CLG Chontae na Gaillimhe, Páirc an Chrócaigh agus ónár n-urraitheoirí Banc na hÉireann chun an ócáid seo a reáchtáil.  Tá an comórtas buaite ag OÉ Gaillimh deich mbabhta agus tá súil againn go mbeidh an Ollscoil ar ais i mbarr a réime in 2017 ó thaobh iománaíochta ag an tríú leibhéal de. Mholfainn do dhaoine ar spéis leo an iománaíocht san iarthar tacú leis na foirne ag an deireadh seachtaine.”  Dúirt Arlene Regan, Bainisteoir Margaíochta, Independent.ie; “Tá an-áthas orainn urraíocht a dhéanamh ar Chorn Sigerson agus Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie don tríú bliain as a chéile. Léiríonn na comórtais seo na himreoirí óga CLG is fearr sa tír agus mar eagraíocht atá báite sna meáin agus i dtraidisiún CLG, is mór againn an chomhpháirtíocht seo.  Go n-éirí an t-ádh leis na rannpháirtithe ar fad i mbliana - má bhíonn sé cosúil leis an mbliain seo caite, tá cúpla mí iontach romhainn.”  -Críoch-

Monday, 30 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy has welcomed the publication of the Disabilities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016. The Bill has been identified by Government as one of the final steps towards Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Ireland signed the Convention in 2008 and has committed to ratify once reforms to bring our laws into conformity with the Convention have been introduced. Eilionoir Flynn, Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway, said: “The Bill will introduce long-overdue reform in the areas of access to goods and services, jury service, electoral laws, and will establish national implementation and monitoring mechanisms for the Convention in Ireland. While the majority of the proposed provisions are to be welcomed, some serious human rights concerns remain.” The Explanatory Memorandum of the Bill states that several key amendments, including those on deprivation of liberty of persons with disabilities will be introduced at Committee stage. These are key human rights issue for people with disabilities, mental health service users and older people; yet to date there has been no public consultation with these communities about the proposed legal changes. Jim Walsh of the Irish Advocacy Network said: “The fact that amendments are only being brought at Committee stage means that there will be less opportunity to debate the provisions. We call on the Department of Health and the Department of Justice to immediately publish their proposals for legal reform in this area and to engage in a meaningful consultation with those who will be directly affected by this part of the law.” The Bill makes important efforts to change jury service laws to eliminate disability-based discrimination which has led to many people (including members of the deaf community and people with learning disabilities) being deemed ineligible for jury service. However, the proposed wording would disqualify ‘a person who does not, in the opinion of the court, have sufficient mental or intellectual capacity to serve as a juror.’ Fiona Walsh, Recovery Experts by Experience, said: “A more human rights-compliant approach would be to disqualify a person who does not, in the opinion of the court, have the ability to perform the functions required of a juror, following the provision of reasonable accommodation.” The Bill designates the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to monitor the implementation of the Convention in Ireland and provides for the creation of an advisory committee, of which half would be members with disabilities, to guide the Commission in this work. Sarah Lennon, Inclusion Ireland, said: “We are concerned that the Bill does not provide any additional funding to the Commission to carry out this work.  Further, in light of the principle of ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ which guided the negotiation of the Convention, we urge the Department of Justice to reconsider making lived experience of disability or mental health services a requirement for all members of this advisory committee and not just half.” It is critical that Ireland fulfils its commitment to ratify the Convention as soon as possible. Given Ireland’s length process to prepare for ratification, it should be possible to ratify without entering significant reservations and declarations. Maria Walls, a PhD Scholar at NUI Galway said: “We are gravely concerned that the Department of Justice propose to enter reservations or declarations on Articles 12 and 14 relating to equal recognition before the law and liberty. These articles are core to the spirit and purpose of the Convention and we urge the government to commit to their full implementation in line with the guidance provided by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.” -Ends-

Monday, 30 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Theatre Week returns to Galway City from 20-25 February celebrating Drama in many forms. This year’s programme contains a diverse programme that will appeal to a variety of people, whether you are a college student or just a Galway theatre lover and showcases the many talents of NUI Galway students through theatre, literature and film. Dramsoc’s flagship for the week is John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men, directed by Naoise O'Beirn. The play dazzled audiences during its Broadway revival in 2014 which starred Chris O'Dowd and James Franco. This show will run for three performances, on the 20, 21 and 22 February at 8pm in the Bank of Ireland Theatre on campus. Featured in this week-long theatre extravaganza will also be the Jerome Hynes One Act Series, hosting five original plays by Dramsoc’s own writers. The plays will have varying themes from comedy to drama and will take place from 22-24 February. Since the inauguration of the series in 2001, many of the playwrights have gone on to win national and international awards and acclaim, and have seen their work produced professionally, and many new theatre companies have also emerged from the process. NUI Galway Societies Officer, Ríona Hughes said: “The week is the perfect showcase for our students, many of whom are studying drama, and we are delighted to invite back our dramatic alumni and feature their work during a week dedicated to theatre. We really hope the public will come onto campus and celebrate with us.” Dramsoc is delighted to support the newly formed Cáca Dána Theatre Company for their second production. The company was founded last year by Dramsoc alumni, Niamh Ryan, Katie Reid, Marie Hegarty and Dara O’Donnell. After a highly successful run in the Town Hall studio with their first play All the World’s a Cage, the company are returning with a new play starring and written by Niamh Ryan entitled Eternal Youth, which made its debut in North Carolina, produced by Lab Theatre. The production resulted in Ryan receiving the Sam Seldon Playwriting award. The play was performed in Dramsoc as a rehearsed reading in 2016 and will now take to the stage in the Town Hall studio. Tickets can be bought from the Town Hall Theatre. Other events taking place during the week include a devised theatre performance, a dance performance, and a variety show hosted by NUI Galway GIGSoc. Full details of each event can be found at http://www.nuigstudents.ie/theatreweek17 or follow the NUI Galway Theatre Week on Facebook for all information. Information and tickets are available from The SocsBox, Áras na Mac Leinn, on 091 492852 or socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 30 January 2017

NUI Galway’s School of Law will host a public seminar on sports-related concussion and the law on Tuesday, 21 February. Guest speaker, sports law expert Professor Jack Anderson, will speak about brain injury litigation arising from concussion in sport. The seminar is being organised by NUI Galway law lecturer Dr Brian Tobin, who said: “Reports of controversial in-game concussion incidents or of players being forced to retire because of repeated concussion seem all too frequent nowadays in pro rugby, in particular. The seminar will explore what might occur if the controversial issue of concussion in sport was to ultimately collide with its greatest opponent, the law, in the form of brain injury litigation.” Jack Anderson is a Professor of Law at Queen's University Belfast, where he specialises in sports law. He is a member of a number of sports dispute resolution bodies, including those established for the GAA and the FAI. He was recently appointed as an arbitrator to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. The seminar will take place at Áras Moyola, NUI Galway, at 6pm and is free to attend. To register for the concussion seminar visit www.conference.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 27 January 2017

Public Lecture at NUI Galway on McGahern Literary Influences NUI Galway’s Hardiman Library and Moore Institute will host a guest keynote lecture from Professor Frank Shovlin, Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool to mark the publication of a major new book on McGahern’s literary influences. The public lecture will take place on Thursday 2 February in the Moore Institute Seminar Room, NUI Galway at 4pm. The lecture, entitled “Prospecting for Gold – a Year with the McGahern Papers”, will reveal the extent to which the McGahern Archive at NUI Galway influenced the writing of this book and the extent of literary influences in McGahern’s own work. Touchstones: John McGahern’s Classical Style by Professor Shovlin examines the ways in which John McGahern became a writer through his reading. This reading, it is shown, was both extensive and intensive, and tended towards immersion in the classics. As such, new insights are provided into McGahern’s admiration and use of writers as diverse as Dante Alighieri, William Blake, James Joyce, Albert Camus and several others. Evidence for these claims is found both through close reading of McGahern’s published texts as well as unprecedented sleuthing in his extensive archive of papers held at NUI Galway. Dr John Kenny, John McGahern Lecturer in Creative Writing at NUI Galway, who will launch Touchstones following the public lecture, emphasises the importance of this new study: “Frank Shovlin’s book is a milestone for new approaches in McGahern criticism – forensically immersed in our McGahern Archive, and attentive to the depths beneath the realist surface of McGahern’s published work, Touchstones demonstrates that layered reading can add formidably to the sheer enjoyment of the art of fiction.” Frank Shovlin is Professor of Irish Literature in English and Head of Department, Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool and the author of Journey Westward: Joyce, Dubliners and the Literary Revival (LUP, 2012). ENDS

Friday, 27 January 2017

NUI Galway today (27 January, 2017) welcomed confirmation from the Department of Education and Skills that eligible students from the UK who enrol for eligible courses for the 2017/18 academic year will be able to avail of the Department’s Free Fee Schemes as in previous years. This means that students from Northern Ireland eligible under the Free Fees Initiative for 2017/18 will be entitled to avail of the initiative for the duration of their course. This clarification addresses concerns that the triggering of Article 50 could impact on students should the UK leave the European Union before the student completes her or his degree. Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh said: “NUI Galway has been working closely with key stakeholders and relevant partners to ensure that students from Britain and Northern Ireland studying here are not disadvantaged in the event of withdrawal from the European Union. We are pleased that Northern Irish students now have certainty that they will be able to avail of free fee schemes in the event of Article 50 being triggered over the course of their studies.” Ms Grainne Dunne, NUI Galway’s Northern Ireland School Liaison Officer added: "The recent initiative by the Irish Universities Association to revise the model for converting A-Level grades to Leaving Certificate points, thereby increasing the CAO points awarded for A Level grades, saw a significant rise in students applying to NUI Galway in 2016. We anticipate a similar upward trend this year and our prospective students from Northern Ireland will certainly be encouraged by this news on the status of the fees." ENDS

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Dr Andrew Smyth, NUI Galway, has secured a prestigious Wellcome Post-Doctoral Training Fellowship award through the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership to carry out a clinical trial to determine the effect of dietary modification on kidney disease. The award is worth €486,492 and will be co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board and Wellcome. Using the award, Dr Smyth will also form collaborations with international researchers in McMaster University in Canada and the University of Oxford in the UK to help reveal the risk factors for, and impact of, kidney disease. They will also look at the effect of kidney disease on other aspects of health. Commenting on the award, Dr Smyth said he is: “Very privileged to be given the opportunity to continue to further develop his clinical research skills.” Speaking about the achievement, Dr Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board said: “Securing this award is a real testament to Andrew’s research capability. These awards are not easy to get and we are delighted to work with SFI and Wellcome to help make them accessible to Irish researchers.” Commenting on the award, Dr Darrin Morrissey, Director of Programmes at Science Foundation Ireland said: “Science Foundation Ireland would like to congratulate Dr Andrew Smyth as the first recipient in Ireland of this award. I hope that his success will encourage other clinician researchers to explore the opportunities available to support excellent and impactful research through the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership.” Head of Research Careers in Wellcome, Dr Anne-Maire Coriat, commented on the award saying: “We are delighted that Andrew was successful in his application for a Clinical Postdoctoral Research Training Fellowship, he is the first successful applicant from Ireland that Wellcome has supported since we launched the scheme for early postdoctoral fellowships in 2011. Research-active clinicians have an overwhelmingly positive impact on patient care but there are still many challenges facing clinicians who juggle clinical work and research. Our recent support for the Wellcome – Health Research Board Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) Programme is a further example of our support for clinical academic research in Ireland – this award provides support for an all-Ireland cross-institutional, comprehensive national programme for Clinician Scientists based at six major Irish universities and their affiliated hospital groups.” Wellcome’s existing schemes for postdoctoral clinical academics (the Clinical Postdoctoral Research Training Fellowship and Intermediate Clinical Fellowship) have recently been consolidated to establish a new scheme, the Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship. This offers the possibility of longer term support, and much greater flexibility in balancing research and clinical training. Those interested in finding out more, or applying, should visit: https://wellcome.ac.uk/funding/clinical-research-career-development-fellowships. Further Irish success in securing funding Recently, three more Irish researchers were successful in obtaining seed funding, worth over €350,000, from Wellcome through the same SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership. The Seed Awards are once-off awards of up to £100,000 (or euro equivalent) designed to help researchers develop a novel research idea, which could form part of a larger grant application in the future. The three recent successful awardees are using their funding to understand the function of a novel molecule in killing breast cancer cells, to model the transport of drugs into diseased heart tissue and to generate models of motor neuron diseases using fruit flies. Among the recipients was Dr Ellen Roche, based in NUI Galway also, will work on modelling the transport of drugs into diseased heart tissue using a novel, implantable device that is attached to the outer surface of the heart. Dr Roche’s work has the potential to ultimately improve treatment for patients with heart failure. Seven researchers based in the Republic of Ireland have been successful in securing Seed Awards since the scheme opened in 2015. The closing date for the next round is 13 March 2017, with outcomes due in May 2017. Anyone wishing to apply can find more information on the scheme here: https://wellcome.ac.uk/funding/seed-awards-science -ends-

Thursday, 26 January 2017

The official opening of the newly established Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia at NUI Galway takes place on Tuesday, 31 January. Professor Eamon O’Shea, Director of the new centre, which is funded by the Health Research Board, will give an inaugural lecture entitled Bringing it all back home - Re-imagining Dementia Care in Ireland. The Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia has been funded through a €1.6 million award from the Health Research Board. The vision is to provide transformative research and policy frameworks that will support personhood within dementia care through an integrated, holistic and person-centred approach to resource allocation for people with dementia. The Centre’s research programme will investigate optimal, person-centred pathways to care, and placement for people on the margins of home care and residential care. “We want to examine the economic, social and emotional costs of caring for people with dementia, with a particular emphasis on non-pharmacological approaches”, explains Professor O’Shea. “We also want to fully explore the concept of personhood in dementia, which in essence means treating the person with dementia as a person in the first instance. Unfortunately, people with dementia have long experienced instances and behaviours which have denied their personhood, for example being ignored, disrespected or not treated with dignity.” “The centre is committed to a partnership approach with all dementia stakeholders, particularly with people with dementia and their carers,” said Professor O’Shea. In addition, the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia will focus on the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy. It will also promote and build capacity in economic and social research on dementia, develop the next generation of research leaders in the area, and engage directly with health policy makers and practitioners. The Centre’s mission is to: Support economic and social research on dementia in Ireland. Develop and facilitate new thinking on dementia in Ireland that focuses on personhood within dementia. Develop research capacity and facilitate collaboration and networking opportunities in relation to social research on dementia. Provide the research framework for critical appraisal of the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy in Ireland. Include people with dementia and their informal carers in the research process. The work will be hosted at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway and will complement the University’s existing investment in social gerontology and health economics. The lecture will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society Building, NUI Galway at 5pm.  For more info email cesrd@nuigalway.ie or phone 091 495461 or follow @CESRD_NUIG -ends-

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

NUI Galway will launch two new videos produced by children and young people which focus on parental separation and divorce. Dr Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children, will attend the launch of the videos ‘It’s OK’ and ‘Dear Parents, Dear Friends’ at NUI Galway’s Institute of Lifecourse and Society on Saturday, 4 February from 12-2pm. Acclaimed Irish actor and Patron of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, Cillian Murphy, has given his support to this project by introducing each of the videos, which resulted from work undertaken by a group of youth researchers aged 9 to 19 years. The young researchers from various parts of Ireland have, since 2014, been involved in research about how children and young people in Ireland experience parental separation, divorce and resulting changes in family life. The youth researchers considered that it was important to highlight the research findings to a wider audience. Over a six month period they, along with Dr Ann O’Kelly, a researcher from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre worked together, in association with Foróige, Ireland’s national youth development organisation, and a Creative Youth Education Programme, TechSpace, to develop their ideas, write scripts and produce two videos. ‘It’s OK’ is aimed at primary school teachers and children and highlights the need for the subject of parental separation and divorce to be discussed openly with young children in school. In the video ‘Dear Parents; Dear Friends’ the youth researchers identify the difficult aspects of parental separation and divorce and provide positive suggestions, especially for parents, to help children and young people overcome these challenges. They also highlight the importance of having support from their friends when difficulties arise. “We are delighted to have the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon attend this event which will celebrate the work of the young researchers” said Dr Ann O’Kelly, of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre.  The launch will include a discussion with the youth researchers, the video makers and presentations by Professor Pat Dolan of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway; Dr Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children; and the project’s researcher Dr Ann O’Kelly. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre supports young people to lead on and collaborate in research projects believing that it positively contributes to their development, enhances their skill set and empowers them to investigate issues and have their voice heard on matters of relevance to their lives. Details of the Centre’s youth as researchers programme are available at www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/youthasresearchers. For further information contact Ann O’Kelly at 085 7412711 or a.cullenokelly1@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 23 January 2017

Tony award-winning musical focuses on water consumption Galway University Musical Society’s (GUMS) 17th annual show ‘Urinetown: The Musical’ will take place in the Black Box Theatre from 7-11 February at 8pm. This underrated and quirky Tony award-winning musical shows a futuristic world where water is scarce and urinating is expensive. The story, full of hilarious characters, satirical script and catchy songs, focuses on class discrimination, corrupt law enforcement, revolution and above all, love. All water consumption is controlled by the unscrupulously greedy Caldwell B. Cladwell and chaos ensues when his daughter falls in love with revolutionary leader Bobby Strong. Riona Hughes, NUI Galway Societies Officer, said: “Galway University Musical Society never fail to deliver top class performances and attendees at last years ‘Adams Family’ will be able to attest to the professionalism of the cast and crew. This year they have taken on a new musical with an intriguing title which is very relevant to an Irish audience as we ponder the future of our water.” Galway University Musical Society is an amateur society run by students with a passion for musicals. Their productions have been nominated for numerous AIMS awards and received rave reviews throughout their years in NUI Galway.  Tickets for Tuesday, 7 and Wednesday, 8 February are €13 or €10 for concession (students or OAPs). Tickets for 9-11 February are €15 or €12 for concession. Tickets are on sale from Wednesday, 25 January, online at www.tht.ie and from the Town Hall Theatre and from the Socs Box in NUI Galway. -Ends-

Thursday, 19 January 2017

 A new robotic device could aid failing hearts by mimicking healthy cardiac muscles An innovative soft robotic sleeve which can help a heart to beat has been developed by researchers including Dr Ellen Roche of National University of Ireland Galway. The soft robotic sleeve wraps around the organ, twisting and compressing in synch with the beating heart, potentially opening new treatment options for people suffering from heart failure. The research has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine today. Dr Roche is the paper’s first author and former PhD student at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and The Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. The research took place at Harvard and at Boston Children’s Hospital. While other therapeutic systems known as ventricular assist devices (VADs) are already used to sustain end-stage heart failure patients awaiting transplant, they extend lives albeit at a high risk due to the number of complications that can occur resulting from their design. Complications include the risk of clotting requiring patients to take potentially dangerous blood thinner medications. Unlike VADs, the soft robotic sleeve does not directly contact blood, avoiding that risk. With heart failure affecting 41 million people worldwide, the hope is the device may one day be able to bridge a patient to transplant or to aid in cardiac rehabilitation and recovery. “This research demonstrates that the growing field of soft robotics can be applied to clinical needs and potentially reduce the burden of heart disease and improve the quality of life for patients,” explains Dr Roche, now a postdoctoral researcher with Professor Peter McHugh in biomedical engineering at National University of Ireland Galway, where she also previously studied for her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering. To create an entirely new device that does not come into contact with blood, the researchers took inspiration from the heart itself. The thin silicone sleeve uses soft pneumatic actuators placed around the heart to mimic the outer muscle layers of the mammalian heart. The actuators twist and compress the sleeve in a similar motion to the beating heart. The device is tethered to an external pump, which uses air to power the soft actuators. "The sleeve can be customized for each patient", said Dr Roche. If a patient has more weakness on the left side of the heart, for example, the actuators can be tuned to give more assistance on that side. The pressure of the actuators can also increase or decrease over time, as the patient’s condition evolves. More research needs to be done before the sleeve can be implanted in humans but the work is an important first step towards an implantable soft robot that can augment organ function. “This research is really significant at the moment because more and more people are ending up with heart failure,” said Roche. “Soft robotic devices are ideally suited to interact with soft tissue and give assistance that can help with augmentation of function, and potentially even healing and recovery.” Senior authors on the study are Professor Conor Walsh, director of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, and Dr Frank Pigula, who was at Boston Childrens Hospital when the research was conducted. The study was co-authored by Markus A. Horvath, Isaac Wamala, Ali Alazmani, Sang-Eun Song, William Whyte, Zurab Machaidze, Christopher J. Payne, James Weaver, Gregory Fishbein, Joseph Kuebler, Nikolay V.Vasilyev and David J. Mooney. It was supported by the Translational Research Program grant from Boston Children’s Hospital, a Director’s Challenge Cross-Platform grant from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Science Foundation Ireland. -ends-

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

‘Engage ‘17’ will focus on employability, job categories and specific skill sets NUI Galway, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB) and the Galway Technical Institute (GTI) will hold a free information day for adult learners on Saturday, 28 January in the Connacht Hotel from 10am -1pm. ‘Engage ’17’ is suitable for those who need some careers advice; whether it’s to upskill, change career, or find out about study options.  This event focuses on adult learners and brings together career advisors and educational providers in the Galway region. “By reviewing what your current skills and interests are, our advisors can explore learning pathways with you, which can help you achieve your goals whether your direction is a work or study-based one”, explains Nuala McGuinn, Director of the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at NUI Galway. This one-stop-shop event also engages employers with representatives from eight key industry sectors providing careers advice on the various roles and career options in their area. Sectors represented at the event include Business, Sales & Languages, Construction, Creative Arts and Humanities, Information Technology, Science and Engineering, Social Impact Careers and Tourism/Hospitality. The event is a perfect opportunity to hear first-hand, about job categories and specific skill sets that these sectors are actively looking for.  One-to-one consultations are available for those who wish to speak directly with a career counsellor.  Bridie Kiloran, Guidance Counsellor at GMIT, said: “These sessions, which are free of charge, can be pre-booked online. Each consultation will focus on the individual’s personal work and education history and will explore future study and career options with the assistance of a qualified counsellor.” The event is being hosted by the Regional Skills Forum West, a network which supports the development of businesses and their employees through training programmes, research projects and entrepreneurship activities.  “This unique event brings together further and higher education providers with representatives from GMIT, GTI, GRETB and NUI Galway. All will be available to discuss study options, apprenticeships and support services for adult learners”, highlights Claire Hurley, Regional Skills Forum West Manager.  Siobhán Brangwyn of the Adult Education Guidance and Information Service at GRETB, said: “Meeting people who work every day in these industries provides a valuable insight for adults who are either seeking work or considering a career move.” For more information on speakers, or to register for a one-to-one consultation, visit engagegalway.com. Additional information is available at 091 494066, engagegalway17@gmail.com or on social media at #engagegalway. -Ends-

Monday, 16 January 2017

For the second year running NUI Galway will host a regional heat for FameLab 2017, one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world. If you think you can explain a scientific concept to a general audience, in just three minutes, then why not enter? You could become the new face of science, represent Ireland at the 2017 FameLab International finals in the UK, and open doors to global opportunities in science communication. The competition is open to: people who apply science, technology, engineering or mathematics in industry or business; those who work on applying science, engineering, technology or mathematics (e.g. patent clerks, statisticians, consultants to industry); lecturers and researchers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, including specialist science teachers with a science degree; university students of science, technology, mathematics or engineering aged 18 and over; and those who apply science, technology, mathematics or engineering in the armed forces or government bodies. Training for entrants will take place in Galway on Tuesday, 31 January, with the regional heat scheduled for Tuesday, 21 February. The event will be held at the Taibhdhearc Theatre, Galway. The application deadline to enter the competition is Tuesday, 7 February, 2017. Successful candidates who make it through the initial regional heat stage, will be invited to attend an all-expenses paid ‘Communication Masterclass’, which will take place in Dublin on the 25-26 March, to help develop invaluable STEM media and presentation skills. The FameLab Ireland Final will be held at the Science Gallery, Dublin on Thursday, 13 April 2017. The aim of each presentation is that the audience and judges should be left inspired and enthused about science. The winner will be a charismatic presenter who makes the science easy to listen to, entertaining, exciting and who is not only able to communicate the science but who can share their passion for it. To see terms and conditions and to register your interest and take part in the Famelab Galway competition please visit http://www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab/enter-competition/apply Please contact famelab@ie.britishcouncil.org if you are unsure about your eligibility and check http://www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab/prepare-heats/regional to learn more about regional heats. Follow Famelab Galway on twitter @FameLab_Gaway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The 12th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place Thursday and Friday, 19 and 20 January. The event will see over 1,300 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,300 primary school children. The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, NUI Galway’s branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, and up to 200 medical and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 3-8 years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of other weird and wonderful ailments. Sally Cahill, a second year medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “This year we are celebrating the 12th annual Teddy Bear Hospital. Over the past couple of years, demand from schools to attend the event has increased and as a result the event has become ever bigger in an attempt to cure all of the sick teddies of Galway. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first ‘patients’ on Thursday, 19 January and hope to create a relaxed and enjoyable ‘hospital’ environment for the children.” This year, 25 local primary schools are participating in the event, equating to over 1,300 children. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children will go to the ‘waiting room’, which contains jugglers and face painters. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them. The students will have specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them.  Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Burkes Fruit and Veg and Fyffes, along with medical supplies sponsored by Matt O’Flaherty Chemist. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and entertainment from the juggling society in the college. Further sponsorship for the event came from Bank of Ireland, Dunnes Stores, Mr Price Terryland, Butlers Chocolates, MPS and Evergreen. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The Teddy Bear hospital is a magical opportunity for the society to invite the children and their teddies to campus and provide a valuable learning experience for all. It is one of the NUI Galway societies’ most colourful and endearing community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who engage such a large number of our students in this event for such a positive purpose and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.” -Ends-   Déanann Mic Léinn Leighis OÉ Gaillimh ceiliúradh ar Dhá Bhliain Déag d'Ospidéal na mBéiríní  Den dara bliain déag as a chéile, beidh Otharlann na mBéiríní, ar oscailt in OÉ Gaillimh, Déardaoin, an 19 agus Dé hAoine, an 20 Eanáir. Tiocfaidh breis agus 1,300 béirín tinn chun na hotharlainne lena bhfeighlithe, 1,300 páiste bunscoile. Is é an Cumann Sláinte, craobh OÉ Gaillimh de Chónaidhm Idirnáisiúnta Chumann na Mac Léinn Leighis, agus suas le 200 mac léinn leighis agus eolaíochta a bheidh ar láimh le scrúdú leighis a dhéanamh ar na béiríní agus le cóir leighis a chur orthu. Tá súil acu go gcuideoidh an ócáid le páistí, idir 3-8 mbliana d’aois, a bheith ar a suaimhneas nuair a bheidh siad ag an dochtúir nó san otharlann. Thar na blianta, thug páistí béiríní chuig an otharlann agus iad ag samhlú go raibh réimse leathan tinnis ag gabháil dóibh cosúil le cluasa tinne, boilg bhreoite agus gach cineál gearán eile faoin spéir. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Sally Cahill, mac léinn leighis sa dara bliain in OÉ Gaillimh agus comh-iniúchóir an Chumainn Sláinte: “I mbliana táimid ag déanamh ceiliúradh ar dhá bhliain déag d'Ospidéal na mBéiríní. Le roinnt blianta anuas, tá méadú tagtha ar líon na scoileanna atá ag iarraidh freastal ar an ócáid agus, dá bharr sin, tá an ócáid i bhfad níos mó anois chun béiríní na Gaillimhe ar fad a leigheas. Beimid ag súil go mór na chéad ‘othair’ a fheiceáil Déardaoin, an 19 Eanáir agus tá súil againn ospidéal taitneamhach a chruthú do na gasúir ar an lá.” I mbliana, tá 25 bunscoil áitiúil páirteach san ócáid, sin os cionn 1,300 gasúr. Nuair a thagann na páistí chuig Otharlann na mBéiríní ar an gcampas, rachaidh siad chuig an 'seomra feithimh', áit a mbeidh lámhchleasaithe agus maisitheoirí aghaidheanna ag fanacht leo. Ansin buailfidh na páistí agus na béiríní le foireann de Dhochtúirí Béiríní agus d’Altraí Béiríní a chuirfidh scrúdú leighis orthu. Beidh meaisíní speisialta X-gha agus MRI ag na mic léinn ar fhaitíos go mbeidís ag teastáil ó na béiríní.  Beidh Cógaslann Béiríní ann chomh maith, agus beidh torthaí sláintiúla ó Burkes Fruit and Veg agus Fyffes ann mar aon le soláthairtí leighis urraithe ag Cógaslann Matt O’Flaherty le cóir leighis a chur ar na béiríní. Nuair a bheidh an méid sin curtha díobh acu beidh deis ag na gasúir spraoi a bhaint as preabchaisleán agus beidh cumann lámhchleasaíochta an choláiste i mbun siamsaíochta. Rinne Banc na hÉireann, Dunnes Stores, Mr Price Thír Oileáin, Butlers Chocolates, MPS agus Evergreen urraíocht ar an ócáid chomh maith. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Ríona Hughes, Oifigeach na gCumann in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is deis iontach é Ospidéal na mBéiríní don chumann chun cuireadh a thabhairt do pháistí agus a mbéiríní chuig an gcampas agus chun taithí luachmhar foghlama a thabhairt do chách. Tá sé ar cheann de na cláir for-rochtana pobail is deise agus is spraíúla atá idir lámha ag cumainn OÉ Gaillimh agus táimid an-bhródúil as chomh maith agus a éiríonn leis an ócáid. Comhghairdeas leis an gCumann Sláinte a thugann deis do líon chomh mór dár gcuid mac léinn a bheith rannpháirteach san ócáid seo do chúis chomh dearfach agus tá súil againn go mbainfidh gach a mbeidh páirteach an-sult as an gcúpla lá seo.” -críoch-

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Professor Pat Dolan welcomes “a social inclusion agenda that bails out families as well as banks” Speaking ahead of the 2nd Biennial Distinguished Lecture by Leo Varadkar T.D. Minister for Social Protection to be held on Thursday, 12 January at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) NUI Galway, Institute Director Professor Pat Dolan has highlighted the need to see the easing of austerity as an opportunity to provide better family support to those worst affected by the economic crisis over recent years in Ireland. The biennial Distinguished Lecture Series, inaugurated by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in 2015, provides a forum for public engagement with the important work of the Institute, through the delivery of key Irish and international policymakers perspectives on how best to address societal issues in an Irish context. “Minister Varadkar’s forthcoming lecture is timely given the current policy crossroads towards enabling social inclusion for those most marginalised,” Professor Dolan said.   Welcoming Minister Varadkar’s engagement with the Institute, Professor Dolan highlighted that within European policy and headline targets, public debate is often focused on very narrow ideas of what exclusion, and hence inclusion, are, and how we need to combat it. “There is currently an overemphasis on economic dimensions, with sometimes a misguided focus on labour market participation as the sole means of lifting people out of poverty and exclusion. This has the damaging effect of isolating many vulnerable sectors of our population, including children, people with disability and older adults. “To be effective, policy shouldn’t divide society into sectors, but should look at inclusivity from cradle to grave. In recent years, for example, we have seen the positive impact on young people of prevention and early intervention initiatives delivered within the community. Such approaches can be replicated for other sectors of society, such as older adults, to support rather than disrupt family lives by empowering communities and reducing the need for institutional care.” Tomorrow’s event will see the second of the Institute’s Distinguished Lectures delivered by Minister Varadkar, who will outline priorities in the area of social inclusion, in addition to remarks in response by Dr Michelle Millar, Senior Research Fellow at ILAS who has completed extensive research on lone parents. The Institute for Lifecourse and Society is the home for applied social sciences at NUI Galway and focuses on issues related to lifecourse and societal issues. It represents a significant and innovative development, in that it brings together interdisciplinary expertise to address the dynamic challenges that face and implicate potentially marginalised sections of our population, at different points in their lives. Engaging in research, community engagement, practice and education, and policy. It draws on the strengths of constituent research Centres in NUl Galway, including; the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre; Irish Centre for Social Gerontology; Centre for Disability Law and Policy; Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia, along with the work of units such as the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research, Health Economics and Policy Analysis Centre along with the work of units such as the Community Knowledge Initiative, Community Engaged Research in Action, and Speech and Language Therapy. ENDS

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Information evening specially designed for mature students, Leaving Certificate students and parents/guardians. NUI Galway will hold a special information evening for prospective students on Wednesday, 18 January from 5.30-8:30pm in the Arts Millennium Building. The event is aimed at mature students, Leaving Certificate students and parents/guardians. The mature students’ element of the information evening is designed for anyone aged 23 or over, who may be considering studies at NUI Galway in 2017. The evening will focus on the benefits and supports for returning to education, career opportunities and subject specific information which will be given through a series of lectures and presentations. A talk will also be given on applying to Medicine as a mature student with information on the HPAT test and the interview process. Trish Bourke, Mature Students Officer at NUI Galway, said: “The evening is specially designed for those who wish to find out more about the degree programmes on offer, the services that the University provides, the CAO application procedure, funding and life as a student on campus. Having studied an Arts degree at NUI Galway myself, I know the value of it and the opportunities it gave me to plan a successful career. There is a place for everyone at NUI Galway whether it is through an Access course or through our Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development Programmes.” Leaving Certificate students and their parents will have the opportunity to explore in detail the over 60 courses available at undergraduate level. Over 25 subject specific talks are being held on the evening including an Admissions Talk and College talks for Arts, Business, Law, Engineering and Informatics, Science, Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. For students who are undecided on their career or course choice, the event will include a Career Clinic and a Course Clinic for students and parents to meet University guidance counsellors and school liaison officers to help guide them through the many avenues available. All the relevant support services including Fees, Sports, Admission and Access will be available on the night to provide information and answer any queries.   Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “With so many courses on offer, this event is a perfect opportunity for prospective students and their parents to meet lecturers on campus and to see what degree might be the right fit for them. It is also a chance find out more about new programmes being offered at NUI Galway including the Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the BSc (Applied Social Sciences), all of which feature relevant work placement as part of the programme structure.”   For further information on the programmes and opportunities for students at NUI Galway, please visit: www.nuigalway.ie/cao.   -Ends-