A Digital Journey Through Irish Theatre History

A Digital Journey Through Irish Theatre History-image

Monday, 22 October 2012

Abbey/NUI Galway launch ground-breaking digital archive partnership  A Digital Journey through Irish Theatre History, the Abbey/NUI Galway digital archive partnership, was launched today, Monday, 22 October 2012 by President Michael D. Higgins in the Abbey Theatre. It is the largest digital theatre project ever undertaken, and heralds a new era of scholarship for Irish theatre internationally. The Abbey archive, which contains over 1.8 million items, is one of the world’s most significant archival collections. It has a wealth of extraordinary and unique material providing a fascinating insight into Irish theatre, history, culture and society. The archival material ranges from show posters, programmes, photographs, minute books to lighting plans, set and costume designs, sound cues, prompt scripts and audio files. Celebrating the launch, Fiach MacConghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre said:  “It’s been a long cherished ambition of the Abbey Theatre to preserve our archive. The digitised archive will help scholars and historians to write the history of the Abbey in greater detail. The Abbey archive is a major resource for Irish theatre and will help us celebrate the unheralded artists, actors, writers who have worked at the Abbey over the years. It will also inspire the next generation of theatre makers. We are excited to partner with NUI Galway and to have arts and science disciplines come together in this way.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said:  “As East meets West, and the creative arts and scholarship combine, this project will see the most advanced digital technology brought to bear on one of the country’s most historic theatre archives. This digitisation project is based on an awareness of the importance of the Abbey Theatre for the social, cultural and economic history of this country – not to mention its ongoing significance for Ireland and the international community as one of the key national theatres in the world. “The benefits to our students and researchers of having direct access to this rich national collection will be immense. There is also great interest in the digital archive abroad and it will draw researchers of international repute to Ireland.” The earliest item in the Abbey archive actually precedes the founding of the Abbey Theatre.  It is an 1894 poster of the first production of The Land of Heart’s Desire by W.B. Yeats, which was performed at the Avenue Theatre in London and is reflective of Yeats’ ambition to present Irish theatre outside Ireland.  Other archival gems reveal that Éamon De Valera trod the Abbey stage as Dr. Kelly in an amateur production of A Christmas Hamper in 1905.   Even our own Irish James Bond had a presence on the Abbey stage when in 1964 Donal McCann played Seamus Bond with Angela Newman as Puísín in the Christmas pantomime Aisling as Tír na nÓg. Part of the Abbey Archive was damaged as a result of the devastating effects of the fire of 1951 and some archival artefacts are in a fragile condition due to age.  The digitised archive will change our understanding of Irish drama. The history of Irish drama is largely understood to be the history of Irish plays – of the written script. As a full multimedia archive, the digital archive will provide researchers with access to the complete range of materials associated with theatre performance: not just the scripts but also the visual materials (costume, set, and lighting designs), sound materials (music scores, sound effects), and the supporting materials (adverts, press releases, reviews). This digitisation project which began in September, will take place over a three to four -year period.  The digitisation process, which is currently taking place on the NUI Galway campus, will bring together multidisciplinary teams of the University’s researchers, students and archivists to realise this exciting project. The digitisation project is unique in that it highlights two of the most important features of contemporary Ireland: the richness of its cultural traditions and its capacity for technological innovation.  NUI Galway is ideally positioned to capitalise on those strengths, as it brings both international expertise in Irish theatre and digital humanities to the project. The Moore Institute for the Humanities and Social Studies at NUI Galway is home to several major digital humanities projects, including the EU-funded TEXTE initiative; while its Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) is the world’s largest research institute dedicated to internet technology-based research. Researchers at both of these institutes, together with archivists and librarians from the James Hardiman Library, will work together to ensure the very latest technology is used to illuminate the past. The digital Abbey archive will be a major addition to the existing collection of literary and cultural archives at NUI Galway. The Archive Collection at the University’s James Hardiman Library comprises over 350 collections, dating from 1485 to the present. Theatre collections include the papers of Thomas Kilroy and the Shields Family Collection, featuring the Abbey actor Arthur Shields and there is a particular focus on the archives of companies such as the Druid Theatre, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe and the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast. A new Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research facility will open at the heart of the campus in 2013, providing the perfect home for this significant collection. Students of the new undergraduate degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, as well as a new PhD programme in Irish Drama will encourage a new wave of young researchers from Ireland and abroad to come to Galway to learn about Yeats, Synge, Lady Gregory and the many other great writers associated with the Abbey. The University has also introduced two new fully-funded PhD fellowships dedicated to research in Irish Theatre to give an immediate boost to the research team working on the Archive project. To view the Abbey Theatre/NUI Galway digital archive partnership website click here. -ENDS-   Seolann Amharclann na Mainistreach/OÉ Gaillimh comhpháirtíocht cheannródaíoch i gcartlann dhigiteach  Sheol an tUachtarán, Micheál D. Ó hUiginn, A Digital Journey through Irish Theatre History, comhpháirtíocht i gcartlann dhigiteach idir Amharclann na Mainistreach/OÉ Gaillimh, inniu, Dé Luain, an 22 Deireadh Fómhair 2012 in Amharclann na Mainistreach. Is é seo an tionscadal digiteach amharclannaíochta is mó a rinneadh riamh agus léiríonn sé ré nua scoláireachta d’amharclannaíocht na hÉireann ar fud an domhain. Tá breis is 1.8 milliún mír i gcartlann na Mainistreach agus tá sí ar cheann de na bailiúcháin chartlainne is tábhachtaí ar domhan. Tá ábhar uathúil agus thar a bheith suimiúil inti a thugann léargas spéisiúil ar amharclannaíocht, stair, cultúr agus sochaí na hÉireann. Tá idir phóstaeir thaispeántais, chláir, ghrianghraif, mhiontuairiscí, phleananna soilsithe, dhearaí stáitse agus culaithe, leideanna fuaime, scripteanna leide agus chomhaid fuaime sa chartlann. Dúirt Fiach Mac Conghail, Stiúrthóir Amharclann na Mainistreach, agus an seoladh á cheiliúradh aige: “Bhí sé mar aidhm mhór le fada ag Amharclann na Mainistreach ár gcartlann a chaomhnú. Beidh an chartlann dhigitithe ina áis mhór ag scoláirí agus ag staraithe chun cuntas níos mionsonraithe a scríobh ar stair na Mainistreach. Is mór an acmhainn í cartlann na Mainistreach d’amharclannaíocht na hÉireann agus cuideoidh sí linn ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar na healaíontóirí, na haisteoirí agus na scríbhneoirí sin nach bhfuair an oiread sin aitheantais agus a bhí ag obair sa Mhainistir in imeacht na mblianta. Tabharfaidh sí spreagadh freisin don chéad glúin amharclannóirí eile. Is cúis mhór áthais dúinn é a bheith i gcomhar le hOllscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh agus disciplíní na n-ealaíon agus na heolaíochta a bheith á snaidhmeadh le chéile ar an dóigh seo.” Dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán, OÉ Gaillimh:  “Sa chomhpháirtíocht seo idir an tOirthear agus an tIarthar, idir na healaíona cruthaitheacha agus an scoláireacht, cuirfidh Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh teicneolaíocht dhigiteach is nua-aimseartha i bhfeidhm sa tionscadal seo atá ar cheann de na cartlanna amharclannaíochta is stairiúla sa tír. Tá an tionscadal digitithe seo bunaithe ar an tuiscint go bhfuil tábhacht le hAmharclann na Mainistreach ó thaobh stair shóisialta, chultúir agus eacnamaíoch na tíre – gan trácht ar a stádas sa tír seo agus sa domhan mór mar cheann de na hamharclanna náisiúnta is tábhachtaí ar domhan.” “Bainfidh ár mic léinn agus ár dtaighdeoirí leas as rochtain dhíreach a bheith acu ar an mbailiúchán saibhir náisiúnta seo. Tá an-suim léirithe sa chartlann dhigiteach thar lear agus meallfaidh sé taighdeoirí mór le rá ar fud an domhain go hÉirinn.” Tá an rud is sine i gcartlann na Mainistreach níos sine ná an Amharclann féin.  Póstaer ó 1894 atá ann den chéad léiriú de The Land of Heart’s Desire le W.B. Yeats a cuireadh ar stáitse san Avenue Theatre i Londain agus léiríonn sé mian Yeats’ amharclannaíocht na hÉireann a chur ar stáitse thar lear.    I measc na míreanna luachmhara eile sa chartlann léirítear go raibh Éamon De Valera ar stáitse san Amharclann mar Dr. Kelly i léiriú amaitéarach de A Christmas Hamper i 1905.    Bhí James Bond na hÉireann ar stáitse fiú san Amharclann i 1964, nuair a bhí an pháirt Seamus Bond ag Donal McCann agus Angela Newman mar Phuisín i ngeamaireacht na Nollag Aisling as Tír na nÓg. Scriosadh cuid de Chartlann na Mainistreach de bharr tine i 1951 agus tá cuid den ábhar is sine sa chartlann an-leochaileach.  Tá an tionscadal digitithe uathúil mar go gcuireann sé béim ar phéire de na gnéithe is tábhachtaí in Éirinn sa lá atá inniu ann: saibhreas na dtraidisiún cultúrtha agus an cumas do nuálaíocht theicniúil.  Tá OÉ Gaillimh ullmhaithe go maith le cur leis na láidreachtaí sin mar go bhfuil saineolas idirnáisiúnta againn in amharclannaíocht na hÉireann agus sna daonnachtaí digiteacha. Is in Institiúid de Móra do na Daonnachtaí agus don Léann Sóisialta in OÉ Gaillimh atá go leor de na tionscadail digitithe is mó sna daonnachtaí, cosúil le tionscnamh TEXTE atá maoinithe ag AE; agus is í an Institiúid Taighde um Fhiontraíocht Dhigiteach (DERI) an institiúid taighde is mó ar domhan atá tiomanta do thaighde bunaithe ar theicneolaíocht idirlín. Oibreoidh taighdeoirí ón dá institiúid le cartlannaithe agus leabharlannaithe ó Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin chun a chinntiú go n-úsáidfear an teicneolaíocht is nua-aimseartha chun an t-am atá caite a léiriú arís. Athróidh an Chartlann dhigitithe ár dtuiscint ar dhrámaíocht na hÉireann go deo. Feictear go forleathan stair na drámaíochta in Éirinn mar stair na ndrámaí - stair na scripteanna scríofa. Mar chartlann iomlán ilmheáin, tabharfaidh an chartlann dhigiteach rochtain do thaighdeoirí ar an réimse iomlán ábhar a bhaineann le léiriú amharclannaíochta: ní scripteanna amháin a bheidh i gceist, ach ina theannta sin beidh físábhar (culaith, stáitse, agus dearaí soilse), ábhar fuaime (scór ceoil, maisíochtaí fuaime), agus an t-ábhar tacaíochta (fógraí, preasráitis, léirmheasanna). Mairfidh an tionscadal digitithe seo a thosaigh i Meán Fómhair idir trí agus ceithre bliana.  Tabharfaidh an próiseas digitithe atá ar champas OÉ Gaillimh faoi láthair le chéile foirne ildisciplíneacha de thaighdeoirí, mic léinn agus cartlannaithe na hOllscoile chun an tionscadal iontach seo a chur i gcrích. Cuirfidh cartlann dhigiteach na Mainistreach go mór le cartlanna liteartha eile OÉ Gaillimh. Sa Chartlann i Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin san Ollscoil tá breis is 350 bailiúchán ó 1485 go dtí an lá atá inniu. Sna bailiúcháin tá páipéir de chuid Thomas Kilroy agus Teaghlach Shields,  agus tá aisteoir na Mainistreach Arthur Shields luaite anseo. Tá béim ar leith ar chartlann na gcompántas ar nós Amharclann Druid, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe agus amharclann Lyric Players i mBéal Feirste. Osclóidh áis Taighde sna Dána, sna Daonnachtaí agus sna hEolaíochtaí Sóisialta i lár an champais in 2013, agus is ann a choinneofar an bailiúchán tábhachtach seo. Idir an chéim nua i nDrámaíocht, Amharclannaíocht agus Taibhiú in OÉ Gaillimh agus an clár nua PhD i nDrámaíocht na hÉireann spreagfar glúin nua taighdeoirí óga in Éirinn agus i bhfad i gcéin le teacht go Gaillimh agus foghlaim faoi Yeats, Synge, Lady Gregory agus na scríbhneoirí móra eile a bhí bainteach le hAmharclann na Mainistreach. Tá tús curtha freisin ag an Ollscoil le dhá chomhaltacht nua PhD atá maoinithe go hiomlán le taighde a dhéanamh ar Amharclannaíocht na hÉireann chun tacú láithreach leis an bhfoireann taighde atá ag obair ar thionscadal na Cartlainne. CRÍOCH  

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Experiment Something New at Galway Science & Technology Festival 2012

Experiment Something New at Galway Science & Technology Festival 2012 -image

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The 15th Galway Science and Technology Festival was launched yesterday, Monday 22 October, in the Engineering Building at NUI Galway by Gerard Kilcommins, VP of Global Vascular Operations and General Manager Galway Site Medtronic, the Festival’s Main Sponsor. The free two-week event runs from the 12–25 November and includes shows and activities for primary and secondary school students and a family day out at the Final Day Exhibition on Sunday 25 November at NUI Galway. There is huge interest already in this year’s Festival following the success of last year when over 90 Primary Schools, encompassing over 15,000 students, and 24 Secondary Schools encompassing 6,000 students, enjoyed shows at their schools. Last year’s Festival culminated in the Final Day Exhibition at NUI Galway attracting over 20,000 visitors to the 80 interactive stands and 14 separate shows. This year there will be 20 separate shows. The Festival aims to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people by bringing shows to schools throughout Galway city and county over the two-week event. The Final Day Exhibition on the 25th November has once again been expanded as a result of the large attendance in 2011 and will host 80 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment. It will take place at the Bailey Allen Hall, Orbsen and IT Buildings and has expanded to the Aula Maxima and new Engineering Building at NUI Galway. There is an amazing programme of events to choose from including three brand new shows, Dr Ken’s Entertaining Science Circus Show where students will learn how circus performers make use of scientific principles in their tricks and stunts. Jumping Clay by Jim Daly an education programme for 3D clay modelling, that can be used in animation or just making popular art and Exploring Cells for 5th and 6th class  students is a hands on practice of cellular and molecular biology for budding explorers. Popular shows making a welcome return to schools again this year include the K’nex Roadshow, which is based on a dynamic open ended spatial building system and Blackrock Castle Observatory’s StarDome where students can discover the wonders of the night sky in their own school hall. Jane McLoughlin’s Fun with Science presents easy science experiments and use of recycled materials and everyday foods to learn about science. See and experience the the magic of radio with a Galway Bay FM School Tour for your class and experience the technology involved in producing a live radio programme, or visit the National Computer and Communications Museum, which provides a fascinating insight to the development of communications and computing technology from ancient heiroglyphics to today’s internet. NUI Galway is running many interesting shows and events to stimulate the mind including 3-D Tours of the Universe at the Centre of Astronomy, which will take the audience on a trip from the earth to nearby starts, across our Galaxy to groups of stars, and finally through the whole Universe. The School of Chemistry at NUI Galway is running a Primary Schools Outreach programme, Kitchen Chemistry, aimed at introducing primary school children to the exciting world of Chemistry and the Zoology Museum and the Computer Museum will also be open on the day. GMIT, currently celebrating their 40th anniversary, will host interesting workshops for students including Skin Deep, which demonstrates how transdermal skin patches work, How Engines Work ‘The Visible Stirling Engine’ and the return of the very popular Forensics Workshop looking at Poisons and Forgeries. Gerard Kilcommins, VP of Global Vascular Operations and General Manager Galway Site Medtronic commented: “Medtronic became the main sponsor of the Galway Science and Technology Festival over ten years ago.  Since then, we are delighted to have experienced the journey that has seen the event evolve and flourish into one of the highlights in the calendars of the educational and science communities.  This year’s theme is “Everybody Experimenting” and experimentation is something that makes Science and Technology so fascinating. Engaging the younger generation throughout this festival about the wonders and possibilities of Science and Technology will help ensure we have the pool of talented scientists and engineers so necessary for Ireland’s future success as a nation. As Thomas A. Edison once said, ‘to have a great idea, have a lot of them’ and I have no doubt the action-packed programme over the next couple of weeks will generate lots of ideas and open minds to the many great possibilities and opportunities out there.” Galway Science and Technology Festival Chairman, Tom Hyland added: “On behalf of the Board of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, I would like to thank our main sponsor Medtronic who for the last 11 years has been a wonderful sponsor of this event, which has grown and developed into a very significant vehicle for the promotion of the STEM subjects to our young people. We also appreciate the support of our partners Galway Enterprise Board, Discover Science and Engineering, Cisco and Boston Scientific who help bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the city and county.”  Professor Tom Sherry, Dean of Science at NUI Galway said: “Around the world, Ireland’s reputation for technology, research and innovation is growing year by year. Galway’s annual Science & Technology Festival is a great opportunity to provide future generations of third level students with an enthralling experience of the boundless possibilities and the sheer fun of science and technology.   We hope that the exciting festival line-up will inspire many of our young visitors both to make their future careers in science and technology and to help to continue Ireland’s burgeoning success.” The Programme of events is available at www.galwayscience.ie and the Festival Exhibition will open at 10am on Sunday, 25November. Bookings can be made at www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com to help people plan their day.

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Irish Drama Scholars to Visit NUI Galway for International Conference

Irish Drama Scholars to Visit NUI Galway for International Conference-image

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Leading scholars of Irish drama will gather in Galway this week for the Irish Society for Theatre Research (ISTR) annual conference. Entitled Perform, or Else!, the conference will take place at NUI Galway from 26-28 October. The conference will feature the latest international thinking on the historical, contemporary and future roles of Irish theatre. It will showcase research across many themes, such as Archives and Performance; Theatre and Memory; Capitalism and Theatre Performance; and Aesthetics, Irish drama and/or Irish Theatre History. Rebecca Schneider, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies at Brown University, will deliver a keynote address. Author of The Explicit Body in Performance and Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment, Professor Schneider will deliver her lecture on how her most recent research applies to the Irish context. Second keynote speaker at the conference will be Dr Mark Phelan, Lecturer in Drama at Queens University Belfast. Dr Phelan will present his recent work involving Irish theatre history and historiography, which had been published in such international journals as Modern Drama and Theatre Journal. The event coincides with important developments in NUI Galway’s theatre studies curricula and research resources. NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library boasts an extensive collection of theatre archives, including the Druid, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, Macnas and Belfast Lyric Theatre as well as the papers of Abbey actor Arthur Shields and playwright Thomas Kilroy. The recent announcement of the Abbey Theatre/NUI Galway Digitisation partnership further strengthens NUI Galway’s status as one of the world’s great Irish theatre theatre archives. This year NUI Galway also launched its new BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, taking in the first cohort of students in September. This programme provides a unique opportunity to study drama, theatre and performance from practical, theoretical and historical perspectives in Galway, a hub for Irish and international arts festivals and events. Dr Patrick Lonergan, Director of the BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at NUI Galway, said: “A huge amount has been happening at NUI Galway recently. We have established a very strong partnership with Druid Theatre, and that is having a massive impact on how we teach students on our new BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance and our MA in Drama and Theatre programmes. The Abbey Digitization project will have a huge effect on archival research in the University too. By hosting a conference that will bring together the world’s leading scholars of Irish drama at this exciting time, we will have a great opportunity to plan for future developments.” Dr Lonergan is also the Director of NUI Galway’s MA in Drama and Theatre Studies and the BA Connect with Theatre and Performance.  He is the author of The Theatre and Films of Martin McDonagh and the award-winning Theatre and Globalization: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger Era (2010). Dr Lonergan will also present a paper entitled ‘Banking on Ireland’ at ISTR 2012. The conference begins at 1pm on Friday, 26 October and takes place in the New Engineering Building located in North Campus. The official conference opening at 5.30pm features a presentation on the Abbey theatre/National University of Ireland partnership project. ENDS

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Top Business Junior Certificate Students Quizzed at NUI Galway

Top Business Junior Certificate Students Quizzed at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Business Studies Teachers Association of Ireland (BSTAI) and NUI Galway Western Region Schools Quiz took place recently in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. Sixteen schools, with a total of 28 teams took part and competed from all over the west, to determine who would represent the region in the National Finals in March. The table quiz was held for Junior Certificate students of Business Studies. Brian Duffy, Chairperson CIMA West of Ireland Branch, said: “At CIMA our relationships with education providers have always been crucial.  We are delighted to have a leading role in this quiz which showcased the talents of second level business students in the West of Ireland.” Professor Willie Golden, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway works closely with its regional hinterland and this is nowhere more evident than in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics. A defining part of all our student courses is the engagement with the local community. Working with the BSTAI and CIMA allows us to engage with second level students and foster their interest in business studies. I have no doubt that many of these students attending the event, will be amongst our leaders of the future.” Jennie Harrington, President of the BSTAI, commented: “I am delighted that so many business studies students took part in the CIMA Schools quiz.  It is an opportunity for students to have fun while also revising for their Junior Certificate exam. I would like to thank CIMA for all their work in organising the quiz.” The winners on the night were Seamount College, Kinvara, Co. Galway, who took first place. They were followed closely in second place by Dominican College, Taylors Hill, Galway. Third place went to Presentation College, Athenry, Co. Galway. The top three teams from the regional final will now go on to compete in the national finals, which will take place in March of next year. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Researchers Win Top Prizes at Irish Pain Society Conference

NUI Galway Researchers Win Top Prizes at Irish Pain Society Conference-image

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Researchers from NUI Galway received prestigious prizes for their research posters presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Irish Pain Society, held in Galway recently.  Elaine Jennings won first prize and the Pain Research Medal for her research on the impact of stress on pain and associated alterations in the body’s so-called endocannabinoid system. Dr Bright Okine won third prize for his characterisation of changes in a nuclear receptor signaling system during pain. Both researchers work within Pharmacology and Therapeutics and the NCBES Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway under the supervision of Dr David Finn and Dr Michelle Roche.  The winning research projects were funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology. The research competition was judged by a panel of international experts who commended the high quality of the research.  NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research has an impressive track record in this competition, winning the Pain Research Medal on five occasions in the last six years. Leading experts on the assessment and management of headache and pain affecting the face and mouth attended the Annual Scientific Meeting. Coinciding with the Global Year Against Headache, the meeting heard about new advances in the diagnosis and treatment of common, but often debilitating conditions such as migraine and less common conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia which is associated with severe facial pain. Clinical experts and scientists from a range of professional disciplines such as pain medicine, surgery, nursing, physiotherapy and psychology presented their research findings to an audience of scientists and health practitioners.  Dr David Finn, Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research and member of the Irish Pain Society’s committee, said: “We are very pleased that the meeting in Galway was so well-attended. The quality of the presentations was excellent and we are particularly pleased to see these prizes awarded to researchers at NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research.” -ENDS-

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NUI Galway launches Civic Engagement Book Collection

NUI Galway launches Civic Engagement Book Collection-image

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) and James Hardiman Library’s Civic Engagement Book Collection will be launched by Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience, in the Library foyer on Thursday, 8 November at 3.30pm. This collection of books incorporates diverse aspects of civic engagement and contains books from a wide range of disciplines and will act as a central reference point for all materials in this field. It is envisaged that this collection will be a valuable resource to those who seek to integrate and promote civic engagement within and without the University. Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Project coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway continues to highlight its leadership in the area of university engagement with community through civic engagement. We at the CKI are delighted that the James Hardiman Library has established itself as a site of knowledge and resource excellence that will enable our student and community populations to learn broadly about aspects related to this area through this collection.” Civic Engagement is a strategic priority for NUI Galway and through the CKI the University works to promote greater civic engagement through its teaching and research. This is reinforced through the use of service learning, community based learning, volunteering and research. To visit the James Hardiman Library website go to http://www.library.nuigalway.ie/. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Economics Graduates Network

NUI Galway Economics Graduates Network-image

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Economics Discipline in the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics has established a new network - the NUI Galway Economics Graduates Network – in order to establish closer links between the Discipline and its graduates.  The Economics Discipline is proud of its association with its graduates many of whom have gone on to make a significant contribution in different areas of business, economic and public life in Ireland. The Economics Discipline at NUI Galway has itself made significant strides in recent years in regard to both research and teaching and prides itself on being an influential  force within the economics community in Ireland and internationally. The network will be launched in Lecture Hall 1, St. Anthony’s, NUI Galway between 4pm and 7.30pm on Friday, 2 November. The event will begin with a talk delivered by Max Watson on Financial Integration in Europe: Lessons from Ireland. Mr Watson is a Fellow of Wolfson College, and is also the Director of a research programme on the Political Economy of Financial Markets at the University of Oxford. He has served as a Director of the Central Bank of Ireland, and co-authored a report for the Oireachtas on the sources of Ireland's Banking Crisis. Following Mr Watson’s talk, the network will be formally launched with remarks from representatives of the University, the economics discipline, employers, and former graduates. The launch will feature an outline of a mentoring programme that is being introduced this academic year. The goal is to pair around twenty former graduates now employed in prominent positions in leading private and public organisations with twenty of the current students. The mentoring programme is just one part of a broader programme of activities designed to make it easier for graduates in economics to make the transition to the workplace. For further information please contact Brendan Kennelly, JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway. Email: brendan.kennelly@nuigalway.ie -ends-

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Scientists Informed by General Public Regarding Gene and Stem Cell Therapy

Scientists Informed by General Public Regarding Gene and Stem Cell Therapy-image

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Report to be published on 2 November A cure for osteoarthritis would be a sensation. Many international research teams are working towards this goal, but few, if any, of these groups have asked the ‘target group’ of their research, patients and interested lay people, for their opinion. Researchers at the Science Foundation Ireland funded Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway have led the Irish effort to hear the views of the ordinary patient member of the general public. The speakers of the patient and citizen panels will officially present their report to Marian Harkin, MEP at 5pm this Friday, 2 November in the Orbsen Building at NUI Galway. Members of the general public, political and scientific communities and the media are expected to attend. The research was run by a project called GAMBA (Gene Activated Matrices for Bone and Cartilage Regeneration in Arthritis), which asked osteoarthritis patients and citizens to participate in an intensive dialogue and to evaluate their EU-funded research. A series of discussion panels took place in Germany, Switzerland and in Galway and surprisingly, the opinions generated by the five panels involved are quite similar, despite different professional and cultural backgrounds. Involving end users at the early stages of research is a novel and exciting approach which could lead to better understanding and acceptance by the public and also gives valuable insights to the researchers themselves. Researchers at REMEDI in NUI Galway were joined by 17 patients and 10 interested citizens, aged between 19 and 78. Over the course of four days the volunteers were given comprehensive information. Researchers, journalists, ethicists, surgeons and health professionals from NUI Galway, and elsewhere in Ireland and the UK, joined them to discuss the opportunities, risks and the ethical aspects of adult stem cell and gene therapies and nanomedicine. The resulting report emphasises the need for more research in osteoarthritis, allied with a responsibility for researchers not to raise false hopes in patients. Panels expressed concerns about the ability of ethics committees to assess complex topics under time pressure with the Irish citizen panel called for a peer review system. All panel groups were adamant that good communication between research teams and between researchers and the public was of utmost importance and stressed that successes and failures in research needed to be published. All panels also thought it was important not to neglect research into the causes of osteoarthritis and to also explore alternative and complementary medicine. Overall, the Irish participants were the most positive in the evaluation of the process with the final outcome a tentative endorsement of the GAMBA approach. “Our experience with the Galway panels was very positive and rewarding.  The dialogue challenged us as researchers to be more thoughtful about research questions and ethical standards, to place the patients centre stage and engage with the public in general as we develop novel therapies for the medicines of the future,” says Dr Mary Murphy, the GAMBA leader at REMEDI.  -ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Athlone

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Athlone-image

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Athlone on Thursday, 8 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and our Bachelor of Arts with Journalism which is brand new for 2013. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Dublin, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Athlone is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Athlone, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Celine O’Donovan on 087 239 1219 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie . ENDS

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Viscus Biologics Awarded Biomaterials Commercialisation Licence by National University of Ireland Galway

Viscus Biologics Awarded Biomaterials Commercialisation Licence by National University of Ireland Galway-image

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Viscus Biologics LLC, Cleveland, Ohio, has secured an 18-month option to conduct further research into the development and commercialisation of a new tissue repair material developed by the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at National University of Ireland, Galway.  Research on the technology is being carried out by Viscus Biologics at its facility in Cleveland, Ohio. The technology is the result of ongoing research at NFB to develop novel biomaterials for soft tissue repair in reconstructive surgery and chronic wound healing. The new technology, called cholecyst-derived extracellular matrix (CEM), is derived from a gallbladder from which the native cells have been removed to leave behind a mesh-like collagen structure. This structure may then be stabilised by various chemical techniques. The nano-topography of the CEM makes it ideal for supporting new cell growth while its mechanical properties ensure that it has the strength and elasticity required for tissue repair. Furthermore the CEM is completely reabsorbed by the body over time, making further surgery for its removal unnecessary. Some of the initial work was funded by Enterprise Ireland and subsequently by Science Foundation Ireland. Viscus Biologics is affiliated with Galway based Proxy Biomedical, Ltd, a leading innovator in the development of next generation medical products using proprietary biomaterials technology. “We are delighted to enter into this collaboration with NFB and look forward to developing the full potential of the cholecyst technology developed by Professor Pandit,” commented Dr Thomas Neenan, President and CEO of Viscus Biologics. “Our Irish parent company, Proxy Biomedical, Ltd has enjoyed a long a fruitful relationship with National University of Ireland Galway, and we look forward to a similar productive relationship as we bring innovative technology such as the cholocyst platform to the market.” Viscus Biologics’ products provide surgeons with a variety of innovative surgical products with three-dimensional structures and properties similar to those found in native tissue.  The company’s first product ALLOMEMTM (human peritoneal tissue) is currently marketed in the US.      NFB, which was established with funding from SFI under the Strategic Research Cluster Programme, conducts research on biomaterials, developing technologies for use in clinical applications in the fields of orthopaedics, soft-tissue healing and neural and cardiovascular regeneration. -ends-

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