Royal Visit to begin at NUI Galway with showcase of heritage and research

Royal Visit to begin at NUI Galway with showcase of heritage and research-image

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

President Dr Jim Browne will welcome the royal couple A commemorative oak tree will be planted The historic Quadrangle at NUI Galway will be the setting today for an elaborate showcase of heritage, culture, research and education. NUI Galway’s President, Dr Jim Browne, will welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to the campus for the start of their visit to Galway, Clare and Sligo. The visitors will be greeted by Irish music and dance in the ‘Quad’, followed by an ‘NUI Galway Expo’ and reception. The Expo will provide the visitors with first-hand insights into the University’s heritage, the Irish language and Celtic studies, and the latest cutting-edge research. There will also be an opportunity to meet with students from Ireland and across the Commonwealth. Ahead of the visit, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, stated: “It is with great pleasure we welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to NUI Galway. There is huge resonance to this visit for the NUI Galway community because of the decision made in the 1840s to establish three Queen’s Colleges in Galway, Cork and Belfast. That decision – at the height of the Irish Famine – a time of real austerity – was transformative for our country – and especially our region. This is evident from the impact on society which our alumni, our academics, our students and our researchers have to this day.” Heritage Their Royal Highnesses will be shown memorabilia from the founding times of the University. NUI Galway’s prestigious history spans back 170 years to its foundation in 1845. Known then as Queen’s College Galway, the University was one of three Queen’s Colleges, the others located in Cork and Belfast. Items on show will include original architectural plans, pencil, ink and watercolour on canvas, of the Quadrangle, built in local limestone and modelled on Christ Church at the University of Oxford. They will also be shown the first roll-book, also known as ‘The Declaration Book’, dating from 1849, original leather binding with gilded inlay and insignia, contains the signed oath and declaration of the first Presidents, all academic staff and register all students who matriculated and enrolled as Queen’s College Galway from its first academic year of 1849-50. Initially, there were only 63 students enrolled at the College, which is now home to over 17,000 students. Irish Language and Celtic Studies A unique aspect of NUI Galway’s role as a University is its strategic commitment to the provision of University education through the medium of Irish and the University’s aim to serve the Gaeltacht and the Irish language community, and to create an exemplary bilingual campus. The guests will be given a presentation on the standard reference English-Irish dictionary. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, Irish writers claimed the ‘Crown of Ireland’ was theirs to bestow on their preferred candidate as the rightful king of the three kingdoms. For Irish language writers of the late medieval period, cultural allegiance was more significant than religious or political affiliation as a marker of Irish identity. The Royal Couple will be presented with an image from Breandán Ó Buachalla’s book The Crown of Ireland. Research Impact Situated on the edge of Europe, NUI Galway is a dynamic location for research and innovation. The University’s approach is to be collaborative, creative, interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial. NUI Galway partners with almost 3,000 research institutes worldwide to create global networks of expertise. The ‘Expo’ will showcase research across five broad areas, including: Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy; Biomedical Science and Engineering; Environment, Marine and Energy; Humanities in Context, including Digital Humanities; and Informatics, Data Analytics, Physical and Computational Sciences. Of particular interest to Their Royal Highnesses may be NUI Galway’s research in: Medical devices and regenerative medicine: Researchers at CÚRAM Centre for Medical Devices, will discuss novel devices for treating bone degeneration disease such as osteoporosis. CÚRAM researchers are creating nanoscale fibres from polymers and incorporating these into a mesh-like scaffold that mimics the natural bone matrix. Importantly, these scaffold materials can be utilised for the regeneration of large bone defects, which do not undergo spontaneous regeneration normally. Violence against Women and Girls: Their Royal Highnesses will also hear about a new research project in the University’s Global Women’s Studies Centre funded by the UK Department for International Development called What Works to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls. NUI Galway is leading the component of the programme which aims to understand the economic and social costs of such violence in three developing states: South Sudan and the commonwealth countries of Pakistan and Ghana. It is known that Violence against Women Girls (VAWG) has consequences for individuals and families; this project aims to deepen and extend our understanding of the impacts of VAWG by examining the economic costs that limit growth and development and the social costs that may contribute to social fragility and conflict. Abbey Theatre Archive: NUI Galway is working with the Abbey Theatre to digitise their entire archive in the largest such project in the world. In addition to the digitisation, the Insight Centre at NUI Galway is using advanced technologies to make this priceless resource accessible to as broad an audience as possible. This allows us to uncover previously unknown knowledge such as connections between specific actors and directors during the theatre’s history. Supporting youth: In work aligned to the Prince’s Trust programmes, the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway is developing a cadre of (nation based) community of youth as peer mentors/supporters. Commissioned by UN/UNESCO, the Centre will co-lead on a research project on the prevention of youth extremism through civic engagement.  One strand, (Marie Curie funded) will focus on understanding youth Multi-cultural and Disadvantaged (London and Dublin); Post-Conflict ( Belfast) and Rurally isolated (Galway). Their Royal Highnesses will have the opportunity to meet some Youth Researchers (trained by the UNESCO Centre) whom form a key aspect of the research programme. Marine and Energy Research: The Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research contributes to some of the most important national and international, long-term, environmental, marine and energy research issues. The Ryan Institute's affiliated researchers are committed to knowledge sharing and collaboration across the sciences, engineering, social sciences and medicine. Specifically to be discussed will be marine renewable energy, earth observation for environmental change, marine zoology, deep-sea habitats and anaerobic digestion in agriculture. Tree planting ceremony NUI Galway is Ireland’s most biodiverse university, and over 100 specimen trees surround the historic Quadrangle, some as old as the building itself. Today, in a special ceremony, Their Royal Highnesses will plant a sessile oak beside the Quadrangle. The sessile oak has particularly special meaning as it connects Ireland, Wales and Cornwall. It is the official National Tree of Ireland, where it is known as the Irish oak or Dair ghaelach (‘Gaelic oak’). Also, it is the national tree of Wales and is considered the national tree of Cornwall, as reflected by its other common names, the Welsh oak and the Cornish Oak. Event commentary via Twitter will be available by following @nuigalway and other social media channels such as Facebook and Linkedin will update as the preparations for the royal visit continue. #royalvisitireland While it will be business as usual for the majority of staff and students, strict restrictions will apply to the Quadrangle and nearby buildings on 19 May. The University is working with An Garda Síochána to ensure that the event runs as smoothly as possible. ENDS   Cuirfear tús leis an gCuairt Ríoga ar OÉ Gaillimh le taispeántas oidhreachta agus taighde Cuirfidh an tUachtarán, an Dr Jim Browne, fáilte roimh an lánúin ríoga Cuirfear crann darach comórtha Is i gCearnóg stairiúil OÉ Gaillimh a dhéanfar taispeántas iontach d’oidhreacht, cultúr, taighde agus oideachas inniu. Cuirfidh Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, fáilte roimh na Mórgachtaí Ríoga Prionsa na Breataine Bige agus Bandiúc Chorn na Breataine chuig an gcampas chun tús a chur lena gcuairt ar Ghaillimh, ar an gClár agus ar Shligeach. Seinnfear ceol agus déanfar damhsa traidisiúnta na hÉireann do na cuairteoirí sa Chearnóg, agus ina dhiaidh sin beidh ‘Taispeántas OÉ Gaillimh’ mar aon le fáiltiú. Tabharfaidh an Taispeántas léargas pearsanta do na cuairteoirí ar oidhreacht na hOllscoile, ar an nGaeilge agus ar an Léann Ceilteach, agus ar an taighde ceannródaíoch is déanaí. Beidh deis ag an lánúin chomh maith casadh le mic léinn as Éirinn agus as an gComhlathas. Ag labhairt dó roimh an gcuairt, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Is mór an t-údar ríméid dúinn fáilte a chur roimh na Mórgachtaí Ríoga Prionsa na Breataine Bige agus Bandiúc Chorn na Breataine chuig OÉ Gaillimh. Tá spéis ollmhór ag pobal OÉ Gaillimh sa chuairt seo mar gheall ar an gcinneadh a rinneadh sna 1840í trí Choláiste de chuid na Banríona a bhunú i nGaillimh, i gCorcaigh agus i mBéal Feirste. Bhí an cinneadh sin – i lár an Ghorta Mhóir, tráth a raibh déine i mbarr réime – athraitheach dár dtír – agus go háirithe dár réigiún. Tá sé seo soiléir ón tionchar atá ag ár alumni, acadóirí, mic léinn agus taighdeoirí ar an tsochaí fós sa lá atá inniu ann.” Oidhreacht Taispeánfar earraí cuimhneacháin do na Mórgachtaí Ríoga ón uair a bunaíodh an Ollscoil. Áiríonn oidhreacht shaibhir OÉ Gaillimh 170 bliain ag dul siar go dtí bliain a bunaithe i 1845. Tugadh Coláiste na Banríona, Gaillimh air agus bhí an Ollscoil ar cheann de thrí Choláiste na Banríona, bhí an péire eile i gCorcaigh agus i mBéal Feirste. I measc na n-earraí a bheidh ar taispeáint beidh bunphleananna ailtireachta i bpeann luaidhe, dúch agus uiscedhath ar chanbhás, den Chearnóg a tógadh le haolchloch áitiúil agus a múnlaíodh ar Ardeaglais Chríost in Ollscoil Oxford. Taispeánfar dóibh chomh maith an chéad leabhar rolla, ar a dtugtar ‘An Leabhar Clárúcháin’, a théann siar go dtí 1849, ar a bhfuil an bunchlúdach leathair le hinleagadh agus le hionchomhartha ór, ina bhfuil mionn agus dearbhú sínithe na Chéad Uachtaráin, gach comhalta foirne acadúil agus gach mac léinn a ghnóthaigh máithreánach agus a chláraigh i gColáiste na Banríona ón gcéad bhliain acadúil 1849-50. I dtús aimsire, ní raibh ach 63 mac léinn cláraithe sa Choláiste, áit a bhfuil os cionn 17,000 mac léinn anois. An Ghaeilge agus an Léann Ceilteach Gné uathúil de ról OÉ Gaillimh mar Ollscoil is ea a tiomantas straitéiseach d’oideachas Ollscoile trí mheán na Gaeilge a chur ar fáil agus aidhm na hOllscoile freastal ar an nGaeltacht agus ar phobal na Gaeilge, agus campas dátheangach eiseamláireach a chruthú. Déanfar cur i láthair do na haíonna ar an bhfoclóir caighdeánach tagartha Béarla-Gaeilge. Ón séú go dtí an naoú hAois déag, d’áitigh scríbhneoirí na hÉireann gur leo ‘Coróin na hÉireann’ le bronnadh ar an iarrthóir ab ansa leo mar rí dlisteanach na dtrí ríocht. Bhraith scríbhneoirí Gaeilge na tréimhse meánaoisí deiridh go raibh dílseacht chultúrtha níos suntasaí ná dílseacht reiligiúnach nó pholaitiúil mar léiriú ar an bhféiniúlacht Éireannach. Bronnfar íomhá ó leabhar Bhreandáin Uí Bhuachalla The Crown of Ireland ar an Lánúin Ríoga. Tionchar Taighde Lonnaithe ar imeall na hEorpa, is suíomh dinimiciúil é OÉ Gaillimh don taighde agus don nuálaíocht. Tá cur chuige na hOllscoile comhoibríoch, cruthaitheach, idirdhisciplíneach agus fiontraíoch. Tá OÉ Gaillimh i gcomhpháirtíocht le beagnach 3,000 institiúid taighde ar fud an domhain chun líonraí domhanda saineolais a chruthú. Beidh taighde as cúig réimse ghinearálta le feiceáil sa ‘Taispeántas’, lena n-áirítear: Eolaíochtaí Sóisialta Feidhmeacha agus Beartas Poiblí; Eolaíocht agus Innealtóireacht Bhithleighis; Comhshaol, Muir agus Fuinneamh; na Daonnachtaí i gComhthéacs, na Daonnachtaí Digiteacha san áireamh; agus Ionformaitic, Anailísíocht Sonraí, Eolaíochtaí Fisiciúla agus Ríomhaireachta. D’fhéadfadh suim faoi leith a bheith ag na Mórgachtaí Ríoga i dtaighde OÉ Gaillimh sna réimsí seo a leanas: Feistí leighis agus leigheas athghiniúnach: Pléifidh taighdeoirí ag CÚRAM, an tIonad Taighde d’Fheistí Leighis, feistí nua chun dul i ngleic le galar meathlúcháin cnámh cosúil le hoistéapóróis. Tá taighdeoirí CÚRAM ag cruthú snáithíní nanascála ó pholaiméirí agus á n-áireamh go scafall cosúil le mogall a dhéanann aithris ar mhaitrís na cnáimhe nádúrtha. Tá sé tábhachtach gur féidir na hábhair scafaill seo a úsáid chun máchailí móra cnámh a athghiniúint, nach dtarlaíonn uath-athghiniúint dóibh go nádúrtha. Foréigean in aghaidh Cailíní agus Ban Cloisfidh na Mórgachtaí Ríoga faoi thionscadal nua taighde Léann na mBan Domhanda atá maoinithe ag Department for International Development na Ríochta Aontaithe dar teideal What Works to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls. Tá OÉ Gaillimh i gceannas ar an gcuid sin den chlár atá ag iarraidh tuiscint a fháil ar chostais eacnamaíocha agus shóisialta an fhoréigin sna trí stát atá i mbéal forbartha: An tSúdáin Theas agus na tíortha comhlathais an Phacastáin agus Gána. Bíonn tionchar ag Foréigean in aghaidh Cailíní agus Ban (VAWG) ar dhaoine agus ar theaghlaigh; tá sé mar aidhm leis an tionscadal seo tuiscint níos fearr a fháil ar an tionchar a bhíonn ag an bhforéigean sin trí bhreathnú ar an gcostas eacnamaíoch a choscann fás agus forbairt agus an costas sóisialta a chuireann le leochaileacht shóisialta agus coimhlint. Cartlann Amharclann na Mainistreach Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag obair le hAmharclann na Mainistreach ar an tionscadal is mó dá leithéid riamh ar domhan chun a gcartlann a dhigitiú. Chomh maith leis an digitiú, tá Ionad Insight OÉ Gaillimh ag úsáid na dteicneolaíochtaí is deireanaí chun an acmhainn luachmhar seo a chur ar fáil don líon is mó lucht féachana agus is féidir. Tugann sé seo deis dúinn teacht ar eolas nach raibh ar fáil roimhe seo cosúil leis an gceangal idir aisteoirí agus léiritheoirí áirithe i rith shaolré na hamharclainne. Ag tacú leis an óige In obair a bhaineann le hIontaobhas an Phrionsa, tá Ionad Taighde Leanaí agus Teaghlach UNESCO in OÉ Gaillimh ag forbairt pobal caidre den óige mar mheantóirí/tacadóirí. Tá an tIonad coimisiúnaithe ag na NA/UNESCO, agus beidh an tIonad ag comhstiúradh an tionscadail taighde a dhíreoidh ar antoisceachas na hóige a chosc trí chomhpháirteachas poiblí.  Díreoidh sraith amháin, (atá maoinithe ag Marie Curie) ar thuiscint a fháil ar an óige ilchultúrtha agus faoi mhíbhuntáiste (Londain agus Baile Átha Cliath); iar-choinbhleacht (Béal Feirste) agus iargúlta faoin Tuath (Gaillimh). Beidh an deis ag na Mórgachtaí Ríoga casadh le cuid de na Taighdeoirí Óige seo (atá oilte ag Ionad UNESCO) ar cuid lárnach iad den chlár taighde. Taighde Mara agus Fuinnimh Cuireann Institiúid Uí Riain do Thaighde Comhshaoil, Muirí agus Fuinnimh na ceisteanna móra tábhachtacha taighde, go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta de, go fadtéarmach, ó thaobh an chomhshaoil, na mara agus an fhuinnimh de. Tá taighdeoirí Institiúid Uí Riain ag iarraidh eolas a roinnt agus comhoibriú sna heolaíochtaí, san innealtóireacht, sna heolaíochtaí sóisialta agus sa leigheas. Déanfar plé ar fhuinneamh in-athnuaite na mara, grinniú an domhain don athrú comhshaoil, zó-eolaíocht na mara, gnáthóga domhainfharraige agus díleá anaeróbach sa talmhaíocht. Crann á chur Is í OÉ Gaillimh an ollscoil is bithéagsúla in Éirinn. Tá breis is 100 crann taispeántais timpeall ar an gCearnóg stairiúil agus tá cuid díobh chomh sean leis an bhfoirgneamh féin. Ag searmanas speisialta inniu, cuirfidh a Mórgachtaí Ríoga dair ghaelach in aice leis an gCearnóg. Tá brí ar leith leis an dair ghaelach mar go gceanglaíonn sí Éire, an Bhreatain Bheag agus Corn na Breataine le chéile. Is é crann oifigiúil Náisiúnta na hÉireann é, áit a dtugtar an Dair Ghaelach air. Is é crann náisiúnta na Breataine Bige é chomh maith agus breathnaítear air mar chrann náisiúnta Chorn na Breataine, agus tugtar an dair Bhreatnach agus an Dair Choirnise air chomh maith. Beidh tráchtaireacht ar an ócáid ar Twitter ach @nuigalway a leanúint agus beidh na socruithe is deireanaí maidir leis an gcuairt ríoga le fáil ar mheáin shóisialta eile cosúil le Facebook agus Linkedin. #royalvisitireland Cé go bhfeidhmeoidh formhór na gcomhaltaí foirne agus na mac léinn mar is gnáth, beidh roinnt srianta i bhfeidhm ar an gCearnóg agus ar roinnt foirgneamh eile in aice láimhe an 19 Bealtaine. Tá an Ollscoil ag obair leis an nGarda Síochána chun a chinntiú nach mbeidh aon fhadhbanna ar an lá. CRÍOCH

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HRB invests €10 million in four new clinical trial networks

HRB invests €10 million in four new clinical trial networks-image

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Stroke patients, mothers and babies, primary care and intensive care patients will all benefit from the four new clinical trial networks, which will improve people’s health and patient care by addressing important research questions. Dr Graham Love, the Chief Executive at the Health Research Board (HRB) says, ‘Clinical trials matter. These new HRB networks will show whether specific interventions work, or indeed don’t work, in the areas of stroke, intensive care, perinatal care and primary care. The clinical trial network approach is effective. We know this because we have our own tried and tested network in Cancer called ICORG*, which is co-funded by the Irish Cancer Society.  Since the HRB started funding ICORG in 2001, it has attracted 270 international trials to Ireland, provided more than 13,000 Irish cancer patients with access to new research treatments and drawn in €6.95 million in funding from industry in the last three years alone’. Following a rigorous application process, an international panel of experts selected the four networks based on their potential for having outstanding health, scientific, societal and economic potential. Each network is led by exceptional individuals with a proven track record of delivering innovative health research that makes a difference to patients. The four Clinical Trials Networks are: HRB Irish Stroke Clinical Trials Network led by Professor Peter J Kelly, Mater University Hospital and University College Dublin (UCD). HRB Irish Critical-Care Clinical Trials Group led by Professor Alistair Nichol, St Vincent’s University Hospital and UCD. HRB Ireland Perinatal Clinical Trials Network co-led by Professor Fergal Malone, Rotunda Hospital and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Professor Louise Kenny, Cork University Maternity Hospital and INFANT, University College Cork (UCC). HRB Irish Primary Care Trials Network led by Professor Andrew Murphy, Foundation Professor of General Practice NUI Galway and General Practitioner Turloughmore, County Galway. Short case studies on each Clinical Trials Network, the trials they will run and quotes from the network leads are provided below. The HRB Irish Stroke Clinical Trials Network led by Professor Peter J Kelly, Mater University Hospital and University College Dublin Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the world, the leading cause of new disability, and a major cause of dementia and health costs. ‘This Stroke Clinical Trials Network will give Irish patients access to cutting edge new treatments with the potential to prevent strokes, or to improve emergency treatment and recovery after stroke,’ says Professor Kelly, Mater University Hospital and University College Dublin. 'We recently saw the benefit to Irish patients of participating in clinical trials via Irish involvement in the ESCAPE trial. This trial was one of the first to prove that emergency clot extraction for carefully selected patients after stroke resulted in a 3-fold improvement of disability, and reduced the risk of death by half, from 20% to 10%. Irish patients were among the first in Europe to benefit from the treatment, which they otherwise would not have accessed.' In the Network, Irish researchers in hospitals will: - Join several new international trials of new treatments for emergency care, prevention, and recovery after stroke. Lead a new clinical trial aiming to prevent second strokes and heart attack after first stroke. Train new doctors, nurses, and therapists in how to perform safe high-quality clinical trials, and will work with patient groups and the private sector to bring new treatments to patients with stroke. The Network will initially involve eight Irish hospitals, six leading universities, and all seven Hospital Groups, including colleagues from UCD, RCSI, Trinity College, UCC, NUI Galway, and University of Limerick. It will have strong links with international researchers in the UK, Europe, and North America. In addition to the HRB, other Network partners are the Irish Heart Foundation, who will fund new Stroke Research Nurses, and seven industry partners, who will fund education and training activities. The HRB Irish Critical-Care Clinical Trials Group (IC-CTG) led by Professor Alistair Nichol, St Vincent’s University Hospital and UCD Thousands of critically ill patients pass through our intensive care units (ICU) each year. Sadly the nature of their conditions can often result in death, or mean they survive with a long term disability. The HRB Irish Critical-Care Clinical Trials Group will bring together doctors, nurses and researchers to test new treatments that can improve outcomes for these patients. ‘Our network will offer ICU patients the highest quality care, give them access to the latest innovations in intensive care and ensure future patients benefit from the lessons learned in national and international research. The group includes the academic leadership in our speciality and encompasses more than 75% of all the ICU capacity in Ireland,’ says Professor Alistair Nichol, Director of the network, St Vincent’s University Hospital and UCD. Initial work to be addressed by the IC-CTG: PHARLAP- will establish whether the way we ‘set’ the breathing machine helps reduce further lung damage in patients with a severe lung disease (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome  or ‘ARDS’). A small research study by some of the group members showed that reducing the size of each breath in conjunction with an occasional sustained deep breath through the ventilator appeared to reduce further damage to the lungs. But the study size was too small to make definitive conclusions. So a larger study, which this HRB network now makes possible, will assess whether patients with ARDS are better off on this PHARLAP breathing strategy. TRANSFUSE- Does giving ‘fresher’ blood versus ‘older blood’ in transfusions make a difference to patients who are admitted to ICU. This study will result in a worldwide practice change if it finds freshest available blood use is best for ICU patients, but if there is no difference this will provide great confidence to blood banks that current practice is optimal. The network will also carry out test studies to determine which of the common treatments used to help reduce bleeding from the stomach when people are very unwell is best. The network will also provide extra training for junior doctors and nurses in Ireland, so they can be future world leaders in research within the Irish health system. Prof Nichol adds, ‘We will be conducting studies with colleagues from Australia and New Zealand where a similar group to ours have made an enormous impact on improving ICU care. We very much hope to replicate their success in Ireland’. HRB Ireland Perinatal Clinical Trials Network co-led by Professor Fergal Malone, Rotunda Hospital and RCSI and Professor Louise Kenny, Cork University Maternity Hospital and INFANT, UCC Unfavourable pregnancy and birth outcomes can have devastating effects and lifelong consequences for infants and their families.  ‘The HRB Ireland Perinatal Clinical Trials network will be home to more than 200 multidisciplinary researchers whose focus will be to improve care of pregnant women and new born babies by answering important research questions’,  according to Professor Fergal Malone, Rotunda Hospital and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. ‘The network brings together leading Irish obstetric, midwifery and neonatal researchers with more than ten years’ experience in conducting important research into women and children’s health. The initial work programme for the HRB Ireland Perinatal CTN includes: The STRIDER trial, which will examine on the use of sildenafil citrate (Viagra) for the treatment of babies in the womb whose growth is severely compromised and for whom no other treatment exists. The PARROT trial, which will examine the use of a novel testing method for diagnosing Pre-eclampsia (PET), a potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication caused by high blood pressure. The TEST pilot study - the first national drug trial in pregnancy, assessing the use of aspirin in low risk women to prevent pregnancy complications. MINT - a drug trial to help assess the best treatment for babies born with breathing difficulties. IRELAND - a drug trial to help assess the best treatment to prevent pre-eclampsia in women with Diabetes. Launching a nationwide follow up programme for the children who participate in these and other studies. Establishing a research programme targeted at the methodology of how we design, conduct, analyse and report clinical trials. ‘Clinical trials in pregnancy and new-born babies are challenging and there are only a handful of such networks globally’, adds Prof Louise Kenny, Cork University Maternity Hospital and INFANT at UCC. ‘Each partner already has extensive, international connections and a balanced portfolio of trials and interventions. This collaborative network will create a critical mass that ensures  Ireland remains an international leader in the delivery of interventions that save lives and improve the health of mothers and babies internationally’. Background: This network represents collaboration between two established research groups; the SFI Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT) and HRB Perinatal Ireland. INFANT has been a world-leading centre for innovative research and the development of novel interventions for pregnancy and new-borns. Perinatal Ireland is a consortium of clinicians from the seven largest maternity Hospitals on the island of Ireland, which when combined, provides a potential research cohort of over 55,000 babies per annum. Perinatal Ireland research outputs have already underpinned the development of at least two national clinical guidelines. The HRB Irish Primary Care Trials Network led by Professor Andrew Murphy, Foundation Professor of General Practice NUI Galway and General Practitioner Turloughmore, County Galway Primary care, often provided by a local GP, is the first port of call for most patients when they are sick. More than 20 million GP consultations take place in Ireland each year. ‘Ninety percent of all health problems can be addressed by GPs and primary care services, so it is vital that GPs have firm evidence on which to make informed decisions about which medication or treatment is right for each patient. This network will deliver such evidence, first in relation to common conditions such as urinary tract infection and also how to manage patients on many medicines effectively,’ says Prof Andrew Murphy, Foundation Professor of General Practice NUI Galway and General Practitioner Turloughmore, County Galway. Initial work to be addressed in the HRB IPC network: Trial 1: Establish whether an antibiotic, or an over-the-counter painkiller, has a better outcome for patients with simple urinary tract infections. Trial 2: Help GPs prescribe the most appropriate combination of medications for older patients who are already on a lot of different drugs. Bring together all the key people in Ireland who are interested in running clinical trials in primary care involving GPs and their patients. Explore patient safety in primary care and will investigate how best to recruit patients and GPs into clinical trials. Initiate an education component teaching primary care staff how to best conduct clinical trials and support people to work closely together to plan and conduct clinical trials and to share the results with GPs and patients. The partners bring a wealth of prior experience in the area along with an already developed, data commissioner approved, ICT system that enables the upload and storage of anonymous, comparative clinical data direct from GP clinics. The Network has partners from NUI Galway, the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research. ENDS

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NUI Galway treats first patient in the world as part of clinical trial for promising new treatment in acute leukemia

NUI Galway treats first patient in the world as part of clinical trial for promising new treatment in acute leukemia-image

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

NUI Galway has announced that a patient attending University Hospital Galway is the first patient worldwide to start treatment in a clinical study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of an investigational drug candidate for sufferers of acute myeloid leukemia. The announcement was made today and co-incided with International Clinical Trials Day. Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. AML is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults, and it is estimated that there were over 18,000 new cases and over 10,000 deaths from the disease in 2014 world-wide. Unlike other cancers that start in an organ and spread to the bone marrow, AML is known for rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that gather in the bone marrow and as a result, impede normal blood cell production. While leukemic cells move into the blood, the lack of normal blood cells can cause some of the symptoms of AML such as anaemia and increased risk of infections or excessive bleeding. Current treatment options for AML are chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation, both of which can destroy cancer cells but do not reduce the related side effects. The investigational drug candidate in the Phase 1/2 clinical study in Galway is being developed by US based company GlycoMimetics, who are exploring the clinical use of the drug candidate in blood cancers. The company announced last week that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug designation to GMI-1271 for treatment of AML. Professor Michael O’Dwyer, NUI Galway, Principal Investigator on the study, stated that: “Based on preclinical data and on a favourable safety profile in healthy volunteers, we believe that GMI-1271 has the potential to be an important new therapy for people with certain blood cancers. It seems that the therapeutic agent in this potential treatment can reverse resistance to chemotherapy which is caused by AML cells’ ability to bind to a receptor called E-selectin in the bone marrow.” NUI Galway’s key strategic research priorities include Cancer Research, Regenerative Medicine and Medical Devices. The University is due to open a new facility for patient-centered clinical research and first-in-man clinical trials, as well as translational research, in the coming months. Ends

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Galway Celebrates National Volunteering Week

Galway Celebrates National Volunteering Week-image

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Last week Volunteer Galway, NUI Galway’s volunteer programme ALIVE, and GMIT joined forces to celebrate National Volunteering Week, encouraging people of all ages to think about how they can get more involved it their local community as a volunteer. Research has shown that not only does volunteering have a positive impact on the local community, but volunteers themselves also benefit through acquiring new skills, increasing their employability and improving their mental health. “The aim was to get as many people as possible volunteering. There are many ways to help out in your community and we can provide advice and support around this.” said Donncha Foley of Volunteer Galway, who has developed workshops for organisations seeking to take on volunteers. Sam O’'Neill, GMIT Students Union President and Irish Heart Foundation volunteer, said: “It is fantastic to see so many students volunteering throughout Galway and beyond because of this initiative. They are being shown the value of volunteering, not just for themselves in terms of boosting their employability, but also the benefit it has to society as a whole. Volunteers may not be paid but the work they do throughout the year is priceless.” To mark the 2015 National Volunteer Week, the Galway City and County Age Friendly Older Persons Council met with students from GMIT and NUI Galway. Joan Kavanagh Chairperson of Galway Age Friendly, said, “We have seen a great opportunity through volunteering for intergenerational collaboration across the city between all age groups committed to fostering a city committed to addressing social justice.” The ALIVE programme at NUI Galway harness, support and reward student voluntary activity across the University, Galway city and wider communities to develop their own practical skills and civic awareness. Volunteer Galway provides information and advice to people interested in volunteering, by advertising volunteer roles on behalf of community organisations and charities, and by helping members of the public to find suitable volunteer roles. Volunteer Galway also assists organisations in recruiting and managing volunteers. -Ends-

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Minister English Announces €1.5 Million Funding for Research on Next Generation Imaging for Smartphone Cameras

Minister English Announces €1.5 Million Funding for Research on Next Generation Imaging for Smartphone Cameras-image

Monday, 25 May 2015

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, today announced funding of €1.5 million for a new research project at NUI Galway which will seek to address technical challenges associated with the development of improved imaging quality for smartphone cameras. Delivered by the Department of Jobs, through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the funding is part of SFI’s Strategic Partnership Programme and includes a €750,000 industry contribution from Galway-based computational imaging company FotoNation.  The research project will run for 4 years and will sustain positions for six PhD researchers and three post doctorial researchers. Commenting about the announcement, Minister English said: “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to identify strategic opportunities based on emerging global trends. Social media content is becoming increasingly visual with huge growth in the amount of photos and videos now being shared online. This trend is driving strong demand for advancements in smartphone camera technology. This demand presents a strong strategic opportunity for Ireland in the years ahead, and that’s why funding for a project like this through SFI is enormously important.” Professor Gerard Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway commented: ”We are delighted to be associated with this ground-breaking applied research and to be partnering with FotoNation, which is the global leader in smartphone image analytics. Our academic researchers are pioneers in this new industry and we are committed to supporting close-to-market R&D as the foundation for future economic growth in Ireland.” Dr. Peter Corcoran, Principle Investigator on the project said: “This proposal provides a unique opportunity for engineering PhD researchers at NUI Galway to work on research topics driven directly by the future needs of the global consumer electronics industry. Many of these researchers will have opportunities to engage with, learn from, and contribute to an industry-leading innovation and intellectual property development process. This forward-looking research partnership is a bold step towards the future of PhD education in Europe. ” Dr. Petronel Bigioi, General Manager of FotoNation added: “FotoNation has a long history of innovating and advancing state of the art in image processing. Over 2 billion digital cameras and smartphone devices are powered by the imaging technologies designed by FotoNation engineers. This collaboration with NUI Galway will allow us to continue our quest for innovative solutions to technical issues associated with the development of improved imaging quality for smartphone cameras. ” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, also welcomed the announcement: “SFI’s Strategic Partnership Programme is specifically aimed at funding compelling research opportunities of scale with strong potential for delivering economic and societal impact to Ireland. The explosion of imaging technology globally creates very clear opportunities for Ireland and we are pleased to be in a position to support Dr. Corcoran and his team at NUI Galway in helping to position Ireland as a leader in research and innovation this area.”   SFI is focused on building strategic partnerships that fund excellent science and drive that science out into the market and society as part of its Agenda 2020 strategy. These partnerships enhance the delivery of SFI’s strategy through leveraging its investment and capability to the maximum extent possible. The SFI Partnership Schemes aim to provide a flexible mechanism by which SFI can build strategic collaborations with key partners such as industry, funding agencies, charities, philanthropic organisations or higher education institutes (HEIs) with the goal of co-funding outstanding opportunities.  About FotoNation FotoNation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tessera Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSRA), is giving life to computational imaging by merging technology with emotion. With technology in more than 60 percent of global tier-1 smartphones, FotoNation develops technologies that serve the computational imaging space for handsets and cameras, as well as the automotive, surveillance, security, and augmented reality markets. The creation, of the next generation of computational imaging algorithms is our mission. The art of engineering new ways to reach the highest possible performance while keeping system requirements to a minimum is our core skillset. FotoNation has a long history of innovating and advancing the state of the art in image processing. More than a decade ago, FotoNation was the first to integrate a commercially successful computational imaging solution into an embedded mobile device. Today the company remains the unchallenged leader in computational photography and computer vision. Nearly 2 billion digital cameras and smart devices are powered by the imaging technologies designed by the sharp minds and passionate hearts of FotoNation engineers.  For more information visit www.fotonation.com. ENDS

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NUI Galway Offers Free Places on Award-Winning Software Development Programme

NUI Galway Offers Free Places on Award-Winning Software Development Programme -image

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

NUI Galway, in collaboration with 19 software industry partners, is offering a limited number of free places on its Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme – Industry Stream. This programme was recently awarded the accolade of being Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology by Grad Ireland. 90% of graduates from the Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development have secured immediate employment in software development roles. Many of the graduates are employed with some of Ireland’s leading software companies. NUI Galway has designed this one-year conversion programme in conjunction with 19 leading IT employers which enable graduates to re-skill for employment in the software development area. Student fees for the course are funded by the Higher Education Authority, given the strategic importance of developing skills in this area. Successful applicants therefore, pay no fees, only a student levy of €224. The overall goal of this postgraduate conversion programme is to strategically increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high-growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience. Applicants are paired with an industry partner from the start of the programme and are then trained in key technologies for that employer’s needs, so they are then able to maximise the impact of a paid industry internship towards the end of the programme. The Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region. The course also involves a guaranteed three-month paid internship to gain industry experience, and as a result provides the opportunity to kick-start a career as a software developer. The industry partners include Avaya, IBM, Cisco, Fidelity Investments, INSIGHT, Storm Technologies, Aspect Software, The Marine Institute, Solano Tech Ltd, NetFort Technologies and Schneider Electric. Dr Enda Howley, NUI Galway Course Director, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates particularly from engineering, maths and science backgrounds, to invest just one year of their time in further education, and, through placement experience with our Industry partners. They will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high tech ICT sector. This sector is experiencing rapid expansion at the moment, and there is a growing skills shortage for ICT graduate roles that these students are ideally suited to fill. The highly intensive programme is designed to begin software development from scratch, but we are particularly keen to receive applications from those who have had some exposure to code and realise that this is something they potentially have a flare for. People with technical or strong numerical backgrounds often perform best in these types of programmes and we strongly encourage applicants who have strong maths skills. This could be a strong maths result from their leaving cert or from certain modules in their undergraduate degree. This isn’t essential, but often indicates a strong problem solving and logical skillset.” Dr Howley continued: “The career prospects for our graduates are extremely strong and demand is dramatically outstripping supply. The progamme is now highly respected among many of Ireland’s leading employers and many of our graduates are receiving multiple job offers before they even complete the programme. Our recognition as Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology has propelled both the programme and our graduates to the front of the list for many recruiters and we are delighted with the feedback and positivity we have been receiving from our past graduates and their employers alike.” The programme is open to all those who have a Level 8 degree or alternatively those with a Level 7 degree and some relevant industry work experience. The programme is ideal for those from a Mathematics, Science or Engineering background, and who relish challenges along the lines of problem solving or project work. NUI Galway is now processing applications and those interested can make their application through www.springboardcourses.ie, or seek more information via the twitter account @hdipindustry.  Significant interest in this free course is expected and early application is advisable. Deadline for final applications is Friday, 15 June. For further information contact the Programme Director, Dr Enda Howley at ehowley@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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Public asked for their ideas about wellbeing in Galway City

Public asked for their ideas about wellbeing in Galway City-image

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Members of the Galway City Community Network and interested members of the public are invited to a unique workshop on Saturday, 6 June, which will focus on wellbeing in Galway City. Organised by the Galway City Community Network (GCCN) and NUI Galway, the aim of the interactive event is to develop a ‘Statement of Wellbeing’ for current and future generations in Galway City. The workshop runs from 9am – 1pm in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. While traditional economic models have often equated wellbeing with economic growth, new research is showing the importance of the wider question of what really matters in life. This in turn has triggered an ongoing debate about how best to measure and foster individual and societal wellbeing. Tommy Flaherty, GCCN Chairperson said: “Wellbeing is something we should all be aiming for. It is more than the absence of ill-health. It is about how we plan our communities, our cities, and our environment so we can have a sense of wellbeing. We want to get individuals, groups and organisations from the community, voluntary and environmental sectors in Galway involved. We want them to share their visions for how we can embed wellbeing in Galway city for ourselves, our children and our children’s children.” The workshop will use a technique called ‘collective intelligence’ to allow the gathering and structuring of ideas to inform the wellbeing statement. Michael Hogan, co-leader of the Health and Wellbeing research group at the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway said: “Galway is such a wonderful place, we’re so delighted to be able to contribute to the great work that is ongoing across the city. Our role at this collective intelligence event is to act as facilitators - the people who come to our event have all the intelligence.” Michael Hogan added: “This work is difficult in part because when many minds converge on the issue of understanding and promoting wellbeing, many different ideas emerge and research is slow to establish coherence. Increasingly recognised as important is empowering groups to work together to establish a shared vision of wellbeing that they can act upon – and promoting systems thinking in groups such that they can understand how their different wellbeing objectives relate to one another. Notably, international best practice suggests that understanding well-being and developing well-being actions is best approached by focusing on the key strategic objectives and goals that guide our collective efforts to enhance wellbeing.” International perspective will also be brought to the event with the participation of Professor Benjamin Broome of Arizona State University. Commenting on the logistics of the event, Ann Irwin GCCN Co-ordinator, said: “The workshop will consist of six working groups of about 20 people each. In the working group participants will be asked to brainstorm a series of ideas that will eventually lead us to a Wellbeing Statement for Galway. This process will be facilitated by an experienced facilitator and start at 9am. Anyone interested is asked to register using the online registration process as soon as possible as there is a trigger question that all participants are asked to answer before the workshop. This enables the facilitators to prepare the session. All the details are on the website www.galwaycitycommunitynetwork.ie.” Galway City Community Network is the Public Participation Network for Galway City which ensures extensive input by organisations and groups in the community, voluntary and environmental sectors into local decision and policy making bodies including at local authority level. -ends- 

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Maire Geoghegan-Quinn Launches NUI Galway Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development

Maire Geoghegan-Quinn Launches NUI Galway Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development-image

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

NUI Galway’s Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development was officially launched by Dr Maire Geoghegan-Quinn recently. Offering a range of part-time, flexible programmes for adult learners, the Centre combines the best in educational technologies to provide an education that meets the personal and professional needs of adult learners. Commenting on the changing education landscape, Centre Director, Nuala McGuinn said: “The way people are learning has to change to respond to people’s lifestyle and their working circumstances. Workers are commuting long distances and working irregular hours so the challenge is to be able to respond to their needs in a flexible manner.” Maintaining all that has been the hallmark of Adult Education since its early days of outreach education in the 1970s the Centre has refocused its services in line with the University’s new strategic plan. One of the objectives of the new plan is to grow the range of flexible programmes and increase the overall percentage of adult learners at the University to 20% by 2020. Speaking at the launch Dr Maire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “Lifelong learning is important for adults and an essential requirement in a person’s working life. Never before has the need to re-skill, up-skill and convert to new roles throughout our working lives been as important as it is today. At European level, a government target to is to have a 15% representation of adult learners in higher education and I would like to congratulate NUI Galway on its strategic objective to go beyond this target.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “The University’s long history in the provision of adult education programmes, which saw lecturers travelling to outreach locations late in the evening to bring university education closer to their homes. There has been a huge advance in teaching technologies and flexibility available to adult learners both in the range of courses on offer and the modes of delivery used. I would like to congratulate the Centre on their work to date and also on their recent achievement under the Springboard programme where NUI Galway received over 100 places as part of the Springboard and ICT Skills incentive.” Programmes in Innovation Management, Technology Commercialisation, Lean and Quality Systems, Medical Device Science and Automation and Control are now offering funded places for the unemployed providing an opportunity to re-skill and return to the workplace. For more information contact the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at adultlearning@nuigalway.ie or 091 495241, or visit the Centre’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nuigalway.adulted. -Ends-

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NUI Galway MA student invited to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

NUI Galway MA student invited to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon-image

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

NUI Galway Global Women’s Studies student, Faith Amanya, was one of small group invited to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the United National Training School Ireland in the Curragh on Monday. Faith Amanya is currently undertaking a Masters in Gender, Globalisation and Rights with the Centre for Global Women’s Studies in School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway. Ms Amanya who is a local government development officer in western Uganda is one of two Irish Aid scholars in the Global Women’s Studies Masters programme this year. As part of her Masters studies, Faith recently completed a six-week professional placement with the Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence, which brings together Ireland’s leading development and humanitarian organisations, relevant Government departments and the Irish Defence Forces to work in partnership to tackle gender based violence. In this context, Faith had contributed to training sessions at the United National Training School Ireland (UNTSI) for members of the Irish Defence Forces getting ready to go on UN peace support operations.   On learning that the Irish Defence Forces had invited Faith to return to the Curragh to meet with Mr Ban Ki-Moon, Ms Amanya, said: “I am grateful and honoured. I am passionate about stopping gender based violence and engaging men in this work. Sharing my experience with future Irish peace keepers at UNTSI and being invited to meet the UN Secretary General during his visit to Ireland are very special experiences for me.” The Masters in Gender Globalisation and Rights is the flagship programme of the Centre for Global Women’s Studies. Course director, Dr Niamh Reilly, said: “Faith’s experience is a wonderful illustration of the strengths of our Masters programme, which brings together recent graduates and mature students from Ireland and overseas to gain the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to advance gender equality and human rights in responses to global issues.” The Centre for Global Women’s Studies was recently awarded a major research contract with Department for International Development (UK) to examine the social and economic costs of violence against women and girls in Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan. -ends-   

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Discussion Forum at NUI Galway to Focus on Spending Socially

Discussion Forum at NUI Galway to Focus on Spending Socially-image

Thursday, 28 May 2015

NUI Galway will host a unique, participatory and interactive event that explores the potential of public procurement to support Ireland’s budding social economy. This discussion forum, ‘Spending Socially - Achieving Social Value through Public Procurement’ will take place on Monday, 15 June. The event was borne out of an identified need to support local enterprises to engage in public procurement process discovered while exploring the possibilities of setting up a community café in a new building at NUI Galway. Derek Nolan T.D. will open the event which will bring together a unique range of experts in the fields of public procurement and the social economy. Speakers will include members from the Office for Government Procurement, the Strategic Investment Board, the NOW Project, and the 'Ready for Business' Organisation and many more experts and advocates. The aim of the discussion forum is to explore the potential uses of social clauses in public contracts and to encourage a discussion on the social benefits that can be achieved through targeted government spending. The event will explore the procurement landscape in Ireland with a view to understanding how social enterprises could be supported to offer their services and bid for tenders. Throughout this discussion a particular focus will be placed on how to improve employment opportunities for marginalized groups, most specifically, persons with disabilities. All are welcome to attend this event particularly those with interest in supporting social and micro enterprises, community organisations, service providers and entrepreneurial individuals, local development networks, students, anyone with interest in supporting local business and enterprise and those involved in public procurement whether as an advisor, policy-maker or tenderer.  The forum is being organised by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway, and Employ Ability Galway, and is funded by the Irish Research Council under its New Foundations Scheme. For more information and to register please see: https://spendingsocial.eventbrite.com. -ends- 

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