Thursday, 1 December 2016

A team from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute has secured funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to gather new empirical research on the quality of Irish environmental policy integration. The research project will identify how to achieve a more cohesive environmental policy governance. Dr Brendan Flynn of the School of Political Science & Sociology and Pádraic Ó hUiginn from the BioÉire project were awarded funding under the EPA’s Research Sustainability Pillar. EPIIC (Environmental Policy Integration – Innovation and Change) is a one-year desk-study which will identify urgent pressures on integrated environmental policy across Ireland’s public administration system. Key cross-sectoral areas included are energy, emissions and climate change, waste, transport, agriculture, marine resources, public expenditure and the project will examine the possibilities for environmental policy integration to assist in addressing these challenges. The study will engage with national departments of state, the local and regional governance levels, and also specialist states agencies with an interest in sustainability. One of the more potentially interesting angles of the research will be to uncover lessons drawn from Northern Ireland and Scottish institutions, especially in the post-Brexit situation. Dr Flynn highlighted that: “We are very keen to hear from public officials who are interested in participating in this study, naturally in the key government departments, but also local authority directors of services for environment, waste, transport and serving and current or retired city and county managers.” Dr Brendan Flynn added: “Environmental policy integration can be defined as the systematic inclusion of environmental concerns into traditional environmental and planning laws or policies. It is about achieving a cohesive, greener governance, or conversely, about uncovering how environmental policies can be undermined through a lack of good co-ordination. This study will focus on a few key policy areas where there are cross-cutting issues and demands.” Research Fellow Pádraic Ó hUiginn outlined how: “EPIIC will take a focused look at reviewing the possibilities for EPI to provide mechanisms for low-cost practical application to overcome barriers to environmental policy implementation. We are also looking at how it could position Ireland to avail of opportunities in areas such as the EU’s Circular Economy Package, for example. The challenges are multi-dimensional such as climate action and energy de-carbonisation and require a number of government departments and state agencies to work together with a common purpose. An integrated approach to sustainability, through applying EPI could possibly generate more positive outcomes, much greater than the sum of the individual parts.” “EPIIC aims to give voice to those directly engaged in implementing environmental policies in key government departments, state agencies and local authorities. By making use of interview-based research with the policy experts dealing with these complex global challenges we aim to identify urgent pressures and also examples of best practice of policy implementation in Ireland,” added Mr Ó hUiginn. For more information visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/ryaninstitute/research/specialinterestgroups/epiicenvironmentalpolicyintegration-innovationandchange/ -ends-

Friday, 2 December 2016

The 7th Annual Marine Economics and Policy Research Symposium was held on Thursday, 24 November, in the Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Galway. Organised each year by the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) of the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, with the support of the Marine Institute, the day provides participants with an update on a wide range of policy topics related to the marine sector in Ireland. This year there was a particular focus on the valuation of marine ecosystem services and benefits to society.  Until recently, very little information was available in relation to the value of the many ecosystem services provided by the marine environment; services such as carbon sequestration, waste assimilation, coastal defence, aesthetic services and recreational opportunities that are provided by our marine ecosystems have by and large gone unvalued. Harnessing our Ocean Wealth (HOOW) - the integrated marine plan for Ireland (2012) - highlighted as a key action the need for further research into generating “economic values of marine biodiversity and ecosystem services to ensure best practice planning and management of the ocean resource”. Indeed, from an economics perspective, HOOW is all about maximising the net benefits to society from the use of our substantial marine resources. This symposium highlights ongoing research in this area from across Ireland and further afield. In particular it highlights new policy initiatives attempting to ensure ‘blue growth’; an expanding but sustainable ocean economy, and new research that values the benefits to society generated from the continued delivery of what are often overlooked critical marine ecosystem services. “Blue growth is about fostering development in marine economic activities in such a manner that the long term ability of the marine environment to continue to provide ecosystem service benefits is not compromised. This is exactly what Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland is aimed at achieving,” says Dr Stephen Hynes of SEMRU at NUI Galway. “Knowing what those benefits are and what they are worth is vital for deciding on the best use of our marine resources and to ensure blue growth for our ocean economy far into the future.” Speakers this year included leading international experts in the field of environmental valuation Professor Nick Hanley of St. Andrews University Scotland, Dr Kathrine Skoland of the International Research Institute of Stavanger, Norway, and Dr Danny Campbell of Stirling University. Other speakers of note on the day included Professor Ronán Long of NUI Galway who reviewed progress in the negotiation of a new international instrument for the protection of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction and Dr Ronan Lyons of Trinity College Dublin who presented research using a rich house price dataset from Daft.ie to investigate if people value having a ‘picture’ of the coast via a window in their house more than having direct access to the coast for recreational purposes. The analysis demonstrated the addition to residential property value from having a sea view or access to coastal features such as beaches and cliffs. Of interest from a policy perspective Ciarán O’ Driscoll, a research associate of SEMRU, explored the impact of Brexit on European Fishing policy arguing that due to Britain’s international commitments to cooperate under UN law, post-Brexit Britain may not be able to reclaim control over setting fishing quotas and limit access to its waters by non-British vessels unilaterally. In the same session Richard Cronin, a senior advisor in the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government outlined the key research needs of Irish policy makers that would support the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive in Ireland and across the EU. The final session of the day presented a number of papers that examined the publics, stakeholders and consumers’ attitudes towards aquaculture and seafood. These cross country comparisons of perspectives provided information to policy makers, public planners and potential investors on how the public regard aquaculture production and identify areas of conflict and consensus between groups. -ends- 

Friday, 2 December 2016

NUI Galway recently conferred special certificates on the tenth cohort of ‘graduates’ from its Youth Academy. 240 primary school children from across the Western region received their certificates, with more than 1,000 friends and family attending the ceremony. Established in 2012, the Youth Academy aims to inspire entry to university by introducing primary school students and their families to university life. Since its foundation, over 2000 students have graduated from a variety of courses on Saturday mornings ranging from Philosophy to Art, Engineering to Creative Writing, Eco-EXPLORERS and Making your own Radio Show to IT and Psychology. The Youth Academy runs for a six week period and works with high ability fourth, fifth and sixth class primary school children to support their learning and academic development, in partnership with their primary schools. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The Youth Academy is a very important initiative by this University.  We feel that it responds to the educational needs of our most important young citizens and gives talented young students the opportunity to get experience of learning in a university. NUI Galway is committed to the sharing of knowledge with the wider community and ensuring that the pathways to university are open to all. I hope that initiatives such as the Youth Academy can highlight how the University can and does serve its community, not only here Galway but in society in general.” For further information on the courses and participation please contact Geraldine Marley, NUI Galway Youth Academy Coordinator, at youthacademy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Leading over 200 researchers fostering transformative, policy-relevant research Alan Ahearne, Professor of Economics at NUI Galway, has been appointed Director of the University’s Whitaker Institute. With a 200-strong research team, the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway delivers policy-focused research in areas such as business, economic development, public-sector innovation and reform, and sustainable and inclusive societies. The Institute is named after the pioneering statesperson Dr T.K. Whitaker who served as General Secretary of Ireland’s Department of Finance from 1956 to 1969, during which time he steered Ireland’s transformational programme of trade liberalisation and structural reform He subsequently served as Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland. Professor Ahearne, who is also a member of the Commission (Board) of the Central Bank of Ireland, said: “T.K. Whitaker set in motion a plan that put Ireland on a path of internationalisation. Throughout his illustrious career he demonstrated and implemented innovative ideas and approaches to challenges and issues facing our economy and society. This is what we endeavour to do here at the Whitaker Institute in the work we to by adopting a similarly innovative, multidisciplinary and transformative approach to the challenges currently facing business and society, both in Ireland and internationally.” Professor Ahearne joined the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway in 2005. He is Chairman of the ESRI and Department of Finance Joint Research Programme on the Macroeconomy and Taxation. He has served as external adviser to the IMF, and was special economic adviser to Ireland’s former Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan from 2009 to 2011. He is a Non-Resident Fellow at Bruegel, the Brussels-based think tank, and a Visiting Executive Lecturer in the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. Before joining NUI Galway, Alan Ahearne was Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC, where he worked for seven years. He has taught economics at Carnegie Mellon University, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, and the University of Limerick. He began his professional career with Coopers & Lybrand and also worked for Bank of Ireland. Professor Ahearne lectures in the School of Economics at NUI Galway, where a flourishing and diverse academic environment integrates teaching and research, theory and empirical applications, in a policy-oriented and interdisciplinary way. There are approximately 1,800 undergraduate students of economics across several colleges, but mainly in the College of Business, Public Policy, and Law and in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies, and Social Sciences. -ends-

Thursday, 1 December 2016

A public talk on understanding how humans walk and how this might inform treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s, takes place at NUI Galway next Tuesday, 6 December. Dr John Barden from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, will deliver the Flaherty Lecture entitled ‘Walking to the beat of a different drummer: using new technology to quantify patterns of locomotion for the assessment and treatment of disease’. The public lecture will review some of the basic neuromuscular and biomechanical mechanisms needed for humans to be able to walk. He will also describe how new sensor technologies can be used to record and analyse the rhythmic patterns produced by these mechanisms. This can be used for the assessment and treatment of pathological gait in aging and in various neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Mild Cognitive Impairment. Dr Barden’s area of expertise is in biomechanics and motor control. His current research interests include sensor-based analytics of cyclic movements in health and in sport. Examples of his research include gait variability in conditions such as knee osteoarthritis and stroke mechanics in competitive swimming. Dr Barden is currently based at NUI Galway on a James M. Flaherty Visiting Professorship. The international exchange programme commemorates the former Canadian Minister for Finance, James M. (Jim) Flaherty, who passed away in 2014. He was awarded an Honorary Degree by NUI Galway in 2012. The exchange programme is supported by the Irish Canada University Foundation, a collaborative organisation between the governments of Canada and Ireland whose mandate is to facilitate academic and cultural links between the two countries. Dr Barden is collaborating with Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin and Dr Leo Quinlan of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics and the Discipline of Physiology . “I’m very grateful to the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF), which through the Flaherty Visiting Professorship, has provided me with the opportunity to visit NUI Galway and collaborate with Professor Ó Laighin and Dr Quinlan on mutually beneficial research related to gait variability and mobility impairments in Parkinson’s disease.” This talk will be of interest to students from a variety of disciplines including physiology, medicine, engineering and kinesiology, as well as members of the general public who have an interest in science, technology and health. The event takes place on Tuesday, 6 December, at 6pm in the ground floor of the Engineering Building, room ENG-G017. -ends- 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Couple go from diploma to doctorate in decade following retirement  At NUI Galway’s November conferring, a Sligo couple Richard and Betty Gray, both 71, were conferred with Doctorates in Archaeology.  The couple, from Ballinafad, County Sligo, embarked on their educational journey when they retired after 40 years in the insurance industry in 2005, completing the NUI Galway Diploma in Archaeology at St Angela's College, Sligo with Dr Michelle Comber.  Following that Betty earned a first class honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology and Classics, while Richard was awarded first class honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology and History at NUI Galway.  Under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth FitzPatrick, both recently earned doctorates.  Betty’s doctoral research was centred on ‘Material Culture of High-status Drinking Ritual in Medieval and Early Modern Gaelic Ireland’ and Richard’s research was focused on ‘Settlement clusters at Parish churches in Ireland 1200-1600 AD.’ Speaking at the conferring ceremony about her educational achievements, Dr Betty Gray said: “The last decade has certainly been challenging but also very rewarding and satisfying. We embraced student life and in the course of our journey we made many wonderful friendships through our involvement in the student mentoring programme and college societies. In particular, the NUI Galway Archaeology society where we both had the honour of serving as auditors. We have had the opportunity to visit and explore medieval and prehistoric landscapes in Ireland England Scotland and Wales. What began for us as a part-time diploma developed into an incredible shared academic journey and we availed of some the wide range of programmes offered at NUI Galway from part-time diploma to full-time honours degree, and in our case a PhD.” Speaking about his educational journey, Dr Richard Gray said: “It was not our initial aim to complete a PhD. The diploma provided a great grounding in archaeology and an excellent foundation for further third level education. The full time BA was hard work, but we were welcomed and encouraged by the support for mature students in NUI Galway. We availed of the back to education courses and the support of the Academic Writing Centre at the Hardiman Library, who helped us to improve our academic writing skills.” ENDS

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Free online resource includes a series of science videos and support material for primary school teachers As part of the Science and Technology Festival, which took place at the weekend, Galway’s future young scientists and science enthusiasts were drawn together in explosive, sticky and steamy investigations at the Kitchen Chemistry Workshops held during NUI Galway’s Science Festival Exhibition. This event marked the launch of a series of Kitchen Chemistry videos, which entice teachers and the public to engage in science, using materials from their own kitchen larders. Kitchen Chemistry is one of the most popular events year on year during the Science and Technology Festival Exhibition, and this year saw the launch of a free online resource set. The set includes a series of free science videos and associated support materials for teachers to use with primary children of all ages in the science classroom.  In 2010, Kitchen Chemistry began as an outreach venture in NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry when a team of postgraduate chemistry students designed a series of simple experiments and developed them into a science outreach roadshow for primary schools. Experiments were designed using simple household materials. Two years later, one of the founders, a then doctoral student, Dr Nicole Walshe worked with Dr Veronica McCauley in the School of Education to examine opportunities of translating these sporadic outreach visits into free online resources that could be shared nationally and beyond. The development of the Kitchen Chemistry videos and resource materials is a result of this joint venture between the School of Education and the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway. Dr Veronica McCauley, Science Education Lecturer at NUI Galway and staff leader in this resource design and development project, said: “In line with one of the core aims of the primary science curriculum, ‘to reinforce and stimulate curiosity and imagination through engagement in science’; these videos and support materials offer teachers and students opportunities to explore science beyond the classroom. They help to realise its everyday application with products found in our kitchens. As you can imagine, when you look at the videos, this was a fun and messy project to work on, and I hope that this ignites further exploration in science!” The set of videos were designed by doctoral students from the College of Chemistry and student science teachers from the School of Education.  Kitchen Chemistry resources offer primary teachers a collection of videos and classroom support material that capture novel and engaging aspects of chemistry-based science topics. The collection is available at www.sciencehooks.scoilnet.ie and is also available trí Ghaeilge. Dr Rachel Quinlan, Vice Dean for the promotion of STEM, College of Science at NUI Galway, said: “Explore funding enables student-staff collaboration on research and resource development, often with benefits that go far beyond the University as in this case. Students brought their scientific expertise to the development, design and recording of these simple and creative science experiments, and now this inquiry can be ignited in schools and homes throughout the country, in addition to those classrooms already participating with NUI Galway Science students in the Kitchen Chemistry programme.” -Ends-

Monday, 28 November 2016

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway has completed the first phase of a study on the number of people affected by sleep paralysis and unusual sleep experiences. Over 1,100 people in Ireland have shared their experiences, with participants relating the often scary sensations they have experienced while in the awake-like state. Sleep paralysis can happen when we are falling asleep or waking up and is often viewed as a distressing experience. Participants reported sensing there was someone else in the room, or seeing intruders with no face, or demons, or being unable to scream. Approximately 80% reported at least one experience of sleep paralysis. Life-time number of episodes were 1-3 episodes (18%), 4-10 episodes (19%), 11-20 episodes (15%) and greater than 20 episodes (27%). In line with previous studies, just under 30% reported experiencing life-time mental health diagnoses, and a sixth of the sample were currently experiencing mental health difficulties. “The main features of sleep paralysis are, the inability to move, a perception that there is someone or something in their room, that the person is being touched or being sat on or strangled. Hearing noises or voices or an intruder’s breathing are also commonly reported by sleep paralysis experiences,” explains Dr Jonathan Egan, from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway. This study was interested in looking at how people’s emotions and lifestyles relate to their sleep. It was also interested in understanding how and why people experience sleep difficulties like sleep paralysis. Half the sample reported experiencing the sleep paralysis episode whilst lying on their backs, while only 5% reported it on their stomach. For 45%, they reported position did not make a difference. Half of the sample reported that they thought there was something wrong with their physical well-being or that they were losing their mind or going insane. Only 10% thought that an alien or magical entity caused their experience. The researchers were also interested in the relationship between sleep hygiene and general psychological wellbeing. “CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) approach is recommended to address sleep paralysis, however, should it also be associated with daytime collapses or sleepiness people should go to their GPs to rule out narcolepsy. The CBT approach addresses sleep hygiene and ways of breathing to relax the person’s body and ways of looking at catastrophic thinking during an episode,” added Dr Egan. The principal investigator on the project was Michelle Tomas, a trainee clinical psychologist on the Doctor of Clinical Psychology training programme at the University, under the supervision of the Deputy Director of the programme, Dr Egan. Varieties of phenomenon Participants in the study, reported a few varieties of phenomenon, including different types of the intruder presence, as these extracts show: The Sensed Presence: “I woke up on my back (I don’t usually sleep on my back) in the early hours, and felt trapped in my body. I couldn't move at all. I slowly became aware of someone (something?) else in the room, possibly more than one. There was a dark figure with no visible features. It did not move, but was standing in the corner of the room and was very sinister and frightening. I have read a few articles about sleep paralysis so was aware of what it was, and that it wasn’t real, and would pass, which was calming. I tried to focus on my breath and wait it out. I still couldn't move. Eventually I succeeded in moving and woke up properly. The light in the room was totally different from in the sleep paralysis state, like it was a totally different time of night.” The Intruder with No Face: “I experience sleep paralysis all the time. My most vivid experience is one I experience quite frequently. I wake laying on my left side and I am unable to move or make sound. I am aware of a rustling sound towards the foot of my bed and I am able to strain my eyes to look toward the sound. I see a small man standing there flicking through a newspaper - this is the rustling sound. When I say he is ‘small’, he is shorter than normal (about 5ft) but is completely proportional as though he has just been slightly shrunken down. When I look towards him, he becomes aware of my presence, closes his paper, and turns towards me. It is then that I realise he has no face, just a black void. Without actually seeing him move, he is suddenly right next to me. He is bent ninety degrees from the waist, and his empty black face is right up in my face and it is then that I begin violently trying to wiggle my fingers and toes to ‘break’ the paralysis. This is usually effective after a little moment, and I wake up fully to my empty bedroom.” The Demon Who Jumps On Victims: “I hadn’t even fallen asleep (usually I fall asleep before sleep paralysis) and I heard scratching sounds on the wall behind me, I wanted to turn over and look in the direction of the noise but I couldn’t move. I heard the noise on the ceiling and then it came closer until I could see it. Big. Black. Somewhat insect like, but also humanoid. It was upside down, it’s hands and feet attached to the ceiling. It stopped when it realised I could see it. It was looking at me with its red eyes, it smiled and I could see very many small pointed teeth. Until it jumped down on top of me, scratching with its talons. Somehow I ended up falling off the bed but awoke in the bed and the thing was gone.” Shadow-man: “I have felt that there is someone entering the room and coming towards my bed, this has always felt like a bad person who wants to hurt me. The person has no face and is always dressed in black with a hood. They seem to float and not walk. Sometimes it’s male and sometimes female. The figure will push me into my bed and I can feel pressure on my chest.” The Old Woman or Hag: “There was an old woman in the top right corner of my room. She just stared at me for what seemed like ages. She made her way to me in bed and sat on my chest. I could feel her sitting on my chest and looking at me. I tried very hard to move, to no avail. I was breathing very very loudly trying to wake up. Eventually I did wake up and colour came back to everything and the woman disappeared. I was very shaken by this experience. I am aware it was not supernatural or anything like that but a figment of my imagination due to REM.” The Child: “The first time I felt I was awake and there was a little boy about 7 years old standing at the foot of my bed. I felt panic but I couldn't wake up. I was starting to scream but no noise came out of my mouth. I eventually awoke after what seemed like 1-2 minutes. The second time I was lying in bed and there was a little girl lying beside me in bed with a white and red dress on. She seemed to also be about 7 years old. She was stroking my hair but again I was paralysed and I couldn’t wake myself up.” Multiple attackers: “I remember something waking me. I looked down at the end of my bed to see a tall figure looming over me, bending over me with the room. And four other figures to its sides. I then could feel some invisible creature kneeling on my chest choking me. It felt as if there were others holding down my limbs. I tried to scream but nothing would come out. I could nearly feel my voice scraping through my throat. I struggled unable to move for a while and eventually (after what felt like hours) shot up to a sitting position and was able to whimper out a small cry.” Lying Behind a Person Sleeping On Their Side: “I was lying on my side and I was completely unable to move. I could feel a man lying in the bed. He was behind me, 'spooning' me, he had his arm wrapped around me. For some reason I knew he was a heavy man in his 40's with a bald head. I felt terrified. I was trying to move my head to look over my shoulder to see if he was real but I couldn't move a muscle. My breath was rapid and panicked. This went on for what felt like 10- 30 minutes. I was focusing on trying to move any muscle and I could feel my eyes scanning the blackness. I don’t remember how it ended. I think I managed to wake up or open my eyes for real.” When Sleeping Somewhere New: “I was asleep alone in a rented house on a family holiday. It was my first experience of sleep paralysis- I woke up in the middle of the night but could not move and tried to scream out for help but I could not scream. I was terrified. I believed I saw a figure of a dark witch above me and I felt as though I was being pushed into the bed. It felt as if it lasted for half an hour but I am sure it didn't really. When I finally managed to move I was so scared I couldn’t sleep in the room by myself that night!” Movement: “It became more levitation/being pulled from the bed, and the feeling of being pulled down into something ‘evil’ - I would feel as if I should try to maintain positive thoughts and a focus on my bed to prevent me being pulled into ‘evil’. In the last year, I’ve experienced all of these.” Unable to Scream: “Woke up early in the morning the bedroom was bright my eyes were open but I could not move or speak saw a moving dark shadow in the corner of the bedroom tried to scream and move but couldn’t then It felt like something was sitting on my chest and it was getting harder and harder to breath and I kept trying to scream and move but couldn't and then I finally woke up after what felt like ages.” -ends-

Monday, 28 November 2016

NUI Galway took home two major awards in the Postgraduate course of the year categories in the gradireland Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards which took place last Thursday in the Crown Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown. The MSc in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security was the overall winner in the ‘Best New Postgraduate Course’ category, with the MSc Biotechnology programme winning the ‘Postgraduate Course of the Year – Science’ category. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “The gradireland Awards are an important annual event, showcasing the best in postgraduate education across the island of Ireland. NUI Galway had eight programmes shortlisted to the final, ranging in disciplines including Business Analytics, Children’s Palliative Care and Coastal and Marine Environments. All NUI Galway’s shortlisted and winning programmes were chosen due to their high level of innovation and the strong focus on developing employability outcomes for graduates.” NUI Galway’s MSc in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is a newly launched programme that will equip graduates with the balance of scientific, technical, analytical and cross-cutting skills to significantly contribute to efforts to promote sustainable agricultural production and global food security. The MSc received the award of ‘Best New Course’ in a hotly contested category with 13 other shortlisted programmes. The teaching by world-leading scientists and researchers, its inter-disciplinary nature and the strong international focus set this programme apart to win in this competitive category. NUI Galway’s MSc Biotechnology programme is the longest running course of its kind in Ireland and it continues to be the most up-to-date programme in the country. This postgraduate programme is highly regarded nationally and internationally as a programme through which students develop the skills, knowledge and experience required for a successful career in biotechnology. For more information on all of NUI Galway’s postgraduate programmes http://www.nuigalway.ie/gettheedge/. -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Atlantic Centre for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development is now accepting applications for its upcoming ‘Scaling a Business’ course which will run from 26 November – 2 December. The Centre is a partnership between experienced academia and proven entrepreneurs globally to provide essential applied entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and networks to support innovation and business creation and growth. The centre runs a series of focused courses, events, workshops and labs, co-designed and co-delivered between NUI Galway academics, experienced entrepreneurs, and partners. These are designed to develop and enhance entrepreneurial capabilities and skills for attendees and their teams, whether starting, scaling or innovating within organisations. The ‘Scaling a Business’ course involves intense immersion in a business-friendly delivery format, through a comprehensive series of experiential programmes. Focusing on scaling a business the course deals with scaling issues such as entrepreneurial selling, collaborative selling, relationship building and customer centricity, revenue scaling, widening the customer base, expanding the enterprise, finance and working capital, scaling models of distribution and operations, people management for scaling and growth, and developing teams and skills. ‘Scaling a Business’ involves direct mentoring and one-to-one focus, tailored and applied to a particular business or idea. Among the experienced team involved in delivering this course is Robert Rosenberg, formally at the prestigious Polsky Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth School of Business. Dr Tom Acton, Head of NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, said: “Playing an enhanced role in the development of our economy requires collaboration between academia, industry partners and proven entrepreneurs, to proactively scale companies who are based in Ireland but operating in international markets. To that end, we have partnered with the global best, to deliver focussed and applied intensive programmes in business scaling through a new centre called the Atlantic Centre for Entrepreneurship and Executive Education.  The impact of the programme is clear, evidenced by the testimonials on the web site.” The course carries 30 ECTS credits and successful completion of the course qualifies for the award of an NUI Galway Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Entrepreneurship. For more information about the course visit www.aceatlantic.com. -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Galway Twins among the winners of prestigious Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships Graduates and students of NUI Galway featured prominently at the annual National University of Ireland (NUI) Awards ceremony which took place recently in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham taking home an impressive 40 awards. Included in this number is one recipient from St. Angela’s College in Sligo, which is a partner college of NUI Galway. A total of 25 Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships and Prizes were awarded to NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, including 12 first prizes. NUI Galway students and twins Rachel and Rebecca O’Malley from Loughrea, Co. Galway, were among the first prize winners receiving scholarships in Nursing and Speech and Language Therapy respectively. Four Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Literary scholarships and prizes were awarded to: Christopher Finn, French; Shannon Grimes, Gaeilge, Paula Maher Martin, Italian; and Caoimhe McHugh, Spanish. Three NUI Travelling Studentships were awarded to NUI Galway students Andrew Hannon, Economics, Kiefer Ramberg, Chemistry, and Sarah Johnson, Biomedical Engineering. Other scholarships and awards include the Pierce Malone Scholarship in Philosophy which was awarded to Ashling McEvaddy, and the Mansion House Fund Prize was awarded to Christopher Breslin. The French Government Medal and NUI Prizes were awarded to Mari McMahon for Distinction on Dual Degrees and Sorchs O’Boyle for Proficiency in French. Fulbright/NUI Visiting Researcher Awards were presented to Alena Yuryna Connolly, Rosa Shine and Rita Melia. The Scoláireacht Chiste Theach an Ardmhéara/Mansion House Fund Scholarship went to Master of Arts (Nua-Ghaeilge) student Laoighseach Ní Choistealbha. Three of this year’s four NUI Post-Doctoral Fellowships were awarded to recipients who will complete their fellowship at the Moore Institute, NUI Galway. They include Dr Niamh Wycherley and Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile, both Post-Doctoral Fellowships in Irish and Celtic Studies, and Dr Bronagh McShane, Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Humanities. Speaking on the success of NUI Galway students and graduates, President Jim Browne, said: “This year has been an exceptionally successful one for our students and staff in terms of NUI Awards received. It clearly highlights the quality of research underway at NUI Galway as well as high calibre of students studying on NUI Galway programmes and follows previous successes in these annual awards. I congratulate the Awardees on their achievements and encourage them in the future endeavours. In commending the studentaward recipients, I’d also like to pay tribute to their teachers for their work in supporting these students and in helping them to achieve such high standards.” This Year the NUI commissioned commemorative medals to mark the 1916 Easter Rising anniversary. At the awards ceremony each award recipient was presented with one of the commemorative medals by the Chancellor, Dr Maurice Manning. Next year’s NUI Awards competition will open for applications in early 2017. More information on the awards can be found at www.nui.ie/awards. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Over 1,500 students will graduate from across the five colleges at NUI Galway at the University's winter conferring ceremonies, which take place from Tuesday, 22 November to Thursday, 25 November. Speaking at the opening ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate all our graduands and extend a warm welcome to their parents, families and friends. We are delighted to acknowledge their outstanding achievements and wish them continued success in the future.” Over 60 students will be conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) over the three days. In addition, degrees, higher diplomas, and Masters will be awarded to students graduating from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; College of Engineering and Informatics; College of Business, Public Policy and Law; College of Science; and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. -Ends- Bronnadh an Gheimhridh in OÉ Gaillimh Bronnfar céim ar bhreis is 1,500 mac léinn as cúig choláiste OÉ Gaillimh idir Dé Máirt, an 22 agus Déardaoin, an 24 Samhain, i searmanais bronnta céime an gheimhridh san Ollscoil. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, ag an searmanas: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, déanaim comhghairdeas lenár gcéimithe ar fad agus tá fearadh na fáilte roimh a dtuismitheoirí, a dteaghlaigh agus a gcairde. Tá ríméad orainn aitheantas a thabhairt dá gcuid éachtaí agus guímid gach rath orthu san am atá le teacht.” Ina measc siúd, bronnadh céimeanna dochtúireachta ar 60 mac léinn le linn na dtrí lá. Sa bhreis air sin, bronnfar céimeanna, ard-dioplómaí, agus Máistreachtaí ar mhic léinn ó Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte; ó Choláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice; ó Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí; ó Choláiste na hEolaíochta; agus ó Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Students from the NUI Galway Masters in Human Resource Management (HRM) and Strategy, Innovation and People Management (SIPM) programmes recently completed applied Human Resources projects with leading local and national companies across a range of industries and sectors.  Led by NUI Galway’s Dr Alma McCarthy, the students applied theory and best practice to address contemporary HR challenges facing six leading organisations, including Medtronic, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Accenture, Deloitte, Shannon Group and Saolta/HSE. Each of the participating companies identified a current HR challenge they face and the students completed research on best practice to recommend solutions to the companies.  Challenges included effectively managing multigenerational workforces, talent attraction and retention, health and well-being in the workplace, employee engagement, and employee satisfaction surveys.  Speaking about the event, Dr Alma McCarthy, Head of Management at NUI Galway, said: “One of the key challenges with university education is how to make learning as real and applied as possible. This innovative project required our Masters students to work on real HR challenges and issues for leading companies so they could apply theory to practice. The companies got some really good ideas which they plan to use in implementing their HR strategy.” The MSc in HRM and the MSc in Strategy, Innovation and People Management are both approved by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) for accreditation at the advanced level. Students on these programmes can achieve Associate Membership of CIPD. After graduation, as they build professional experience, they can progress through the professional stages of CIPD membership from Chartered Member to Chartered Fellow.  Further information on both programmes is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/management/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Kildare on Thursday, 1 December. Students interested in undergraduate or postgraduate courses are welcome to attend. Parents, guardians and guidance counsellors are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Osprey Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and the undergraduate courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and 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 innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique offerings include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree, a Maths and Education degree (aimed at training Maths teachers), a Marine Science degree and Podiatric Medicine, the only offering of this course in Ireland. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes; Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the BSc (Applied Social Sciences). Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “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 County Kildare, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Naas is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Kildare, contact NUI Galway’s Recruitment Officer Siobhan Dorman on 086 0421591 or siobhan.dorman@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 21 November 2016

‘Conversations with Leading NUI Galway BusinessAlumni’ published by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics In recognition of 100 years of the Bachelor of Commerce degree at NUI Galway, the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics has produced a book profiling many of its well-known and successful alumni. Conversations with Leading NUI Galway Business Alumni contains the personal and career stories of 50 high profile Bachelor of Commerce graduates, from a variety of different business backgrounds and industry sectors. The graduates have domestic and international business and public service experience, representing some of the biggest companies and brand names in the world, such as Adidas, Coca-Cola, Deloitte, J.P. Morgan, Medtronic, Pernod Ricard, as well as many of Ireland’s leading success stories, including Avolon, Collins McNicholas, Connacht Rugby, Connacht Tribune, Davy, Dubarry, ESB, Kennys, MERC Partners and Uniphar. The book includes graduates who are CEOs, founders of business start-ups, social entrepreneurs, managing partners, marketing/finance directors and economists, and a World Athletics Champion. Reflecting the global dimension to business education today and NUI Galway’s commitment to internationalisation, the graduates in this book work and live in cities around the world, such as Dublin, London, Brussels, Dubai, New Delhi, Atlanta, New York, and of course, Galway. It includes many household names, all with a close relationship and affinity for Galway city and the surrounding region, including Ruth Curran, Gavan Duffy, Dave Hickey, Karen Kenny, Olive Loughnane, Danny McCoy, Val McNicholas, Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Enda O’ Coineen, Catriona O’ Farrell, Pádraic Ó Máille, Dómhnall Slattery and Margaret Sweeney. The book’s editor and Director of the Bachelor of Commerce, Dr Gerard Turley said: “This is a very exciting time for the study of business at NUI Galway. This year we launched the Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) course, a new four-year business degree which includes both work placement and study abroad in Europe, USA, China or Australia opportunities for all its students. At the same time, we wanted to celebrate the remarkable graduates of the Bachelor of Commerce degree that first began taking in business students in 1915. We look forward to the next 100 years of business education at NUI Galway, and in doing so, turn out future business entrepreneurs and leaders of the calibre and standard profiled in this commemorative book.” All proceeds from the sale of Conversations with Leading NUI Galway Business Alumni will go to Jigsaw Galway, the youth organisation that supports young people’s mental health and well-being. -Ends-

Monday, 21 November 2016

Huston School of Film and Digital Media revamp their two flagship MA programmes Building on the established tradition of postgraduate teaching in film studies and film production at NUI Galway, the Huston School of Film & Digital Media has announced the relaunch of their two flagship MA programmes – the MA in Film Production and Direction and the MA in Film Studies: Theory and Practice. Designed to equip graduates for the changing employment and research environments of the digital age, these programmes have been revised to include training in screenwriting within their core and optional modules. The MA in Film Production and Direction is a full-time rigorous, skills-based course offering training in directing, producing, screenwriting, camera, sound and editing by leading industry practitioners. As well as the practical filmmaking skills acquired on this course, students are exposed to the history and diversity of film as an art form through weekly screenings and lectures. From the beginning, students are involved in collaborative filmmaking tasks which offer real-world training in a range of roles across the film production process while developing core technical and creative skills informed by a critical awareness of film history and analysis. Throughout the year-long programme, students will develop their creative skills in a supportive environment with the opportunity to specialise in areas such as television drama or short film making. Uniquely in Ireland, the MA in Film Studies: Theory and Practice enables students to mix or concentrate on academic or practice-based pathways, including mentorship in screenwriting and the possibility of developing a feature-length screenplay. Core modules examine foundational and contemporary themes in the study of global cinema and introduce students to digital film practice. The programme also includes a range of optional modules allowing students to focus on specific film, screenwriting, media-related areas, and a module examining the role of film in arts administration, education and festival curation. For their final project, students have the option of producing a written dissertation, a video essay, or a feature-length screenplay. The programme can be taken on either a full-time or part-time basis. Dr Seán Crosson, Programme Director of the MA in Film Studies: Theory and Practice, said: “Students on these innovative programmes benefit from small-group teaching and seminars providing close interaction and mentorship from lecturers and industry professionals. As a student at the School you will be part of a collaborative creative community, working with students across a range of MA programmes to develop your understanding of film theory and practice. Students have access to a range of seminars and high-profile guest speakers, who have included to date Gabriel Byrne, Laura Mulvey, Seamus McGarvey, Stephen Rea, Lenny Abrahamson, Mark O’Halloran, Colin McArthur, James Cromwell, John Boorman, Evan Goldberg, Roddy Doyle, John Carney and Atom Egoyan.” Employing over 6,000 people nationwide, and generating an estimated €550 million annually, the creative industries are central to Ireland’s economic and cultural achievements on the global stage. As a UNESCO City of Film, and the home of the Irish Film Board, Galway is situated at the heart of Ireland’s creative and cultural sector. Research and taught programmes at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media are built upon the strong links between the school and the wider creative community, offering students the unique opportunity to collaborate with top industry professionals. Many Huston graduates are pursuing successful careers in the fields of Film and Media both in Ireland and abroad, including Will Collins, who was the screenwriter of the animated film Song of the Sea, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2015. For more information on the MA in Film Production and Direction, the MA in Film Studies: Theory and Practice, and other programmes on offer visit www.filmschool.ie. To enquire about the programmes email info@filmschool.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Dr Martin O’Halloran, Lecturer in Medical Technologies at NUI Galway, has been awarded a Science Foundation Ireland Early Career Researcher award at the Annual Science Foundation Ireland Science Summit. Dr O’Halloran’s research is focused on the development of patient-centred medical devices. Originally qualifying as an engineer, he retrained as a clinical researcher to ensure his lab-based research could be translated into the clinic, and have a clear and tangible impact on patient care. His research is focused on developing medical device technology that is both close to patient and close to market. With this in mind, Dr O’Halloran’s Translational Medical Device Lab is the first in Ireland to be physically embedded within a large regional hospital and co-located with the Health Research Board’s Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway. Congratulating Dr O’Halloran on his award, NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi said: “Martin and his team are at the very epicentre of our research in medical technologies, with their close collaborative ties with clinicians. With his multi-disciplinary background in engineering and clinical research, Martin reflects the innovative approach to research which thrives here at NUI Galway. I am pleased to see his excellence and determination being recognised and rewarded.” Explaining his research, Dr O’Halloran said: “We are funded by the European Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland. The research involves the measurement of the electrical properties of human tissue, as a platform for new medical device development. These properties are used in medical imaging (using microwave and electrical impedance imaging) and in therapeutic applications (radiofrequency and microwave ablation of diseased tissue).” Our clinical targets range from neuro-imaging for stroke detection (funded by CÚRAM, to bladder imaging for managing bed-wetting in young children (collaboration with ICAN). Working closely with BioInnovate, we are also investigating a number of clinical applications of ablation, as a therapeutic technology in the gastro, ENT and cardiac spaces.” Highlighting his ambition and commitment to medical research translation, Dr O’Halloran was the youngest ever successful co-proposer of a European COST Action (entitled ‘MiMED’), and is now leading a network of over 180 medical device researchers from 24 countries, focused on the clinical translation of medical devices in Europe. He also secured over €5.1 million in direct research funding, these grants include an SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant, an ERC Starting Grant, and several grants from the Irish Research Council and Enterprise Ireland. Congratulating the award winners, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to recognise and honour the excellent work and achievements of Irish scientific researchers in a number of fields. 2016 marks the addition of five new awards recognising crucial areas of research and development including: industry collaborations, entrepreneurship, communication, public engagement and outstanding early career researchers. I want to congratulate the award winners on their hard work and accomplishments. I hope their success will be a source of inspiration to others.” -ends-

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

NUI Galway’s Professor Fidelma Dunne wins Irish Healthcare Awards 2016 NUI Galway’s Professor Fidelma Dunne from NUI Galway has won the overall award at the Irish Healthcare Awards 2016. The judges deemed that Professor Dunne’s research to improve pregnancy outcomes for women with diabetes, would have an outstanding impact on patient access and care while also making cost savings to service delivery. As a result of Professor Dunne’s work, women with diabetes in pregnancy living in the West of Ireland now have access to a bespoke and sustainable pre-pregnancy care programme. The service provides free, gold standard care to optimise their health before embarking on pregnancy. In addition, there is no waiting list to attend the service. This work which started as a research project, funded by the HRB has resulted in significant lowering of stillbirth’s neonatal deaths and congenital abnormalities for infants of mothers with diabetes which previously was significantly higher when compared to mothers without diabetes in the western region. Working with the Department of Health Economics at NUI Galway, the work has also been shown to be cost effective. NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi, welcomed the award: “We congratulate Professor Dunne on winning the Irish Healthcare Award. Professor Dunne has long been an international leader in this area of research, with her leadership and expertise in the field leading to better healthcare interventions.” The gala event was held in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel recently and was presented by Bobby Kerr, broadcaster, entrepreneur and former ‘Dragon’ on RTÉ’s Dragons’ Den. Now in their 15th year, the Irish Healthcare Awards are recognised as the most sought after in Irish healthcare, and are colloquially known as the ‘Oscars of the health services’. The annual Awards - which are hosted by Irish Medical Times and its publisher MPI Media - celebrate innovation, excellence and achievement in the Irish health system and recognise projects and individuals that have made a positive contribution to patient care. Congratulating Professor Dunne and the other winners, Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, which supports her research, commented: “This, and the other award winners, are an endorsement of the power of health research to improve our health services and the care that we deliver.” -ends-

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Mike McCormack, novelist and NUI Galway English lecturer, has won the £10,000 Goldsmiths Prize for Fiction for his third novel Solar Bones, triumphing over a shortlist which also included Irish writer Eimear McBride and Irish-Canadian writer Anakana Schofield. Solar Bones, which was written in a single novel-length sentence, was published last May by Tramp Press. The story takes place on All Souls’ Day in Louisburgh, Co Mayo and is told largely through the recollections of Marcus Conway, a middle-aged engineer. Mike’s previous work includes Getting it in the Head, Crowe’s Requiem, Notes from a Coma, which was shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Award, and Forensic Songs. In 1996 he was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and in 2007 he was awarded a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. Speaking about the recent award Mike said: “It is a great honour to win this prize particularly as it honours innovation and inventiveness in the fictional form. It’s a stand along prize and the most radical one in the literary landscape at the moment. I am thrilled to follow a line of writers which include Ali Smith, Eimear McBride and Kevin Barry.” Dr Cathal O’Donoghue, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, said: “I would like to congratulate Mike on receiving the prestigious Goldsmith Prize, it is a wonderful achievement and great recognition for Mike and it’s a credit to all his hard work. This award reflects the excellence of teaching provided by our lecturers at NUI Galway and I would like to wish him continued success in his future projects.” The Goldsmiths Prize was established in 2013 to celebrate the qualities of creative daring and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form. The annual prize of £10,000 is awarded to a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterizes the genre at its best. More information at http://www.gold.ac.uk/goldsmiths-prize/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

NUI Galway and Penn State experts to address UN Symposium on Positive Youth Development Empathy. Could this one word – one concept – be key to changing outcomes for young people around the world?  Tomorrow (16 November 2016) a UN High Level International Round Table Symposium will hear from experts on positive youth development. The message from the UNESCO Chairs at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) and Penn State USA will be that teaching empathy to young people can counter problems such as drug addiction, crime, gang membership, early pregnancy and youth radicalisation. “2016 has seismic political shifts, with debate often focused on race, on immigration, and segmenting populations into different groups. From Brexit to the US election campaign, the narrative has been divisive in terms of individual and community identity. It’s been a story of them and us,” explains Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair for Children Youth and Civic Engagement at the National University of Ireland Galway, who will address the roundtable event in New York. “This sense of ‘them and us’ is the antithesis to what young people need. Rather, imbuing empathy in young people can be one of the most positive and instrumental steps we can take. It can raise social and emotional competence and give youth the ability to navigate in what can be a challenging and difficult world.” Professor Dolan pointed to the marked differences in the views of the young and old in recent major political decisions. “To avoid alienating our young people, their voices need to be heard.” Professor Dolan, in collaboration with a fellow UNESCO Chair, Professor Mark Brennan at Penn State USA, is leading a project for UNESCO and the UN to develop models for empathy education for youth - by youth - for use in school and community settings. They are also developing innovative models of youth as researchers, which are being developed by young people themselves. To this end, Professor Dolan has developed an innovative research technique where young people become the researchers themselves. Acclaimed Irish actor Cillian Murphy is patron of the UNESCO Centre for Child and Family Studies at NUI Galway, and has provided his support in workshops with young researchers on topics such as homelessness and LGBT. “Empathy education plays a critical role in providing youth with a respite from the problems of self and the realisation that you are not the only one in the world with a problem. We need to make an active effort to change community structures that create an apathetic view of youth and instead engage their empathy and acknowledge and value youth that are strong in all areas not just athletics or academics,” said Professor Brennan of Penn State. Professor Dolan added: “Exciting emerging research from neuro-science shows a positive connection between empathy education in children and youth and better academic performance – this has been coined as "Firing Gandhi Neurons". Professors Dolan and Brennan also point to the Roots of Empathy programme which originated in Canadian schools, led by Mary Gordon. Children, around the age of either or nine, were visited in the classroom monthly by a baby and parent for the duration of the school year. The programme was based on the idea that children can learn about attachment, empathy, emotional intelligence, and communication all from a baby.  END

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Schools from Galway and Monaghan each win €1,000 with videos about ‘Life in Space’ and ‘How the Sun Works’ The winners of the ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition were announced today as Gaelscoil Riabhach from Loughrea, Co. Galway at primary school level and Patrician High School, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan at secondary school level, with each school winning €1,000. For their video about ‘Life in Space’, fourth class students from Gaelscoil Riabhach interviewed NASA astronaut Ron Garan about his experiences aboard the International Space Station, while Patrician High School Transition Year students John Ubaldo and Colm Lonergan explored ‘How The Sun Works’ in their animated video.  Based in NUI Galway and supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme and the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, ReelLIFE SCIENCE challenges Irish schools to communicate science via engaging and educational short videos. This challenge was met by more than 2,000 students in 104 schools around Ireland, producing over 200 short science videos on a range of topics in both English and Irish. Selecting the best videos to share the €3,000 prize fund were: University College London neuroscientist and Royal Society Fellow, Professor Eleanor Maguire;, BT Young Scientist & Technologists of the Year 2016, Maria Louise Fufezan and Diana Bura from Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan; and RTÉ broadcaster and science enthusiast Rick O’Shea. Rick O’Shea said: “It was a genuine pleasure to go through all the entries in this year’s competition. Some were of such an incredibly high quality. I just wish the tech and the teaching that obviously goes behind this was around when I was in school!” Other prize-winners include Coldwood National School from Craughwell, Co. Galway and Holy Family School for the Deaf in Cabra, Dublin 7 at primary school level, and Coláiste Lorcáin, Castledermot, Co. Kildare and Manor House School, Raheny, Dublin 5 at secondary school level. All videos can be viewed at www.reellifescience.com and will be shown to the general public as part of the Galway Science and Technology Exhibition, held in NUI Galway on Sunday, 27 November. Since launching in 2013, over 7,000 students in 250 schools around Ireland have taken part in ReelLIFE SCIENCE, while the videos produced have been viewed more than 80,000 times in over 100 countries worldwide. ReelLIFE SCIENCE is organised by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell and a team of science communication enthusiasts, in collaboration with the Cell EXPLORERS outreach programme from the NUI Galway School of Natural Sciences. Dr Ruth Freeman, Director Strategy and Communications, Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative, which cleverly combines science literacy and creativity, while providing a great opportunity for students and teachers to engage with science in a novel way. ReelLIFE SCIENCE encourages young people to connect with the science and technology in their everyday lives, and to bring that knowledge to a wider audience, while promoting current Irish scientific research and development.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

20% of patients infected with MRSA are dying from systemic infections Antimicrobial resistance infections are projected to cause more deaths than cancer by 2050 if not addressed urgently.  Microbiologists have identified how MRSA may be more effectively treated by modern-day antibiotics, if old-fashioned penicillin is also used. The team from the National University of Ireland Galway and the University of Liverpool have shown that, although penicillin does not kill the bacteria, it does weaken their virulence, making it easier for our immune system and other antibiotics to eradicate the infection. The research findings, funded by the Health Research Board and the Medical Research Council, are published today (15 November 2016) in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. MRSA infection is caused by a type of Staphylococcal bacteria that has become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary infections. This results in significant morbidity and mortality with up to 20% of patients infected with MRSA dying from systemic infections.   Professor James O’Gara of the National University of Ireland Galway comments: “Our findings explain the anti-virulence mechanism of penicillin-type antibiotics and support the re-introduction of these drugs as an adjunct therapeutic for MRSA infections. MRSA can be extremely virulent, which is part of the challenge in treating it. Our laboratory research shows that when exposed to penicillin, the bacteria switches off its toxin genes and instead concentrates on thickening its cell wall to resist the antibiotic. Our immune systems can then take advantage of this compromised state to destroy the bacteria.” This new treatment strategy for MRSA infections has the potential to change the current clinical guidelines for treatment of patients with MRSA infections in both hospital and community settings. A recent randomised controlled trial in Australia involving 60 patients led by Menzies School of Health Research showed that the beta-lactam antibiotic flucloxacillin in combination with vancomycin significantly reduced the duration of MRSA sepsis from 3 days to 1.9 days. “The clinical findings in Australia are very important and now we have the key laboratory data that help explain why the combination of two antibiotics is better than one. The beauty of this approach is that penicillin type antibiotics are not only widely available and safe, but can potentially and more easily be included in clinical practice without the need for long and expensive clinical trials needed for new drugs,” added Professor O’Gara. Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, commented: “This research demonstrates the potential payback having a vibrant health research programme.  It clearly has the potential to change clinical practice and improve outcomes for patients.” Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest current threats to human health. The recent report commissioned by the UK Government, concluding that AMR infections will cause more deaths than cancer by 2050 if not addressed urgently.  Study co-lead Professor Aras Kadioglu at the Institute of Infection & Global Health, University of Liverpool added that: “Although aggressive hospital infection control initiatives appear to be having a positive impact on hospital-acquired MRSA rates in some developed countries, the global burden still remains unacceptably high. Infections caused by community associated MRSA strains and strains that are currently methicillin sensitive are increasing at a worrying speed. Given the escalating antimicrobial resistance crisis, it is imperative to identify new therapeutic strategies and to re-evaluate how current antimicrobial drugs are used, as such our data are timely and highly important.”  -ends-

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

‘Fís na Fuiseoige’, a film by NUI Galway Journalism tutor Aodh Ó Coileáin, was awarded the 2016 Best Documentary Award at the Irish Film Festival London last night. Aodh teaches Journalism through Irish on the undergraduate Bachelor of Arts (Cumarsáid agus Gaeilge) programme at NUI Galway. He also teaches Journalism through Irish on the new subject Léann na Cumarsáide in the general Bachelor of Arts programme. ‘Fís na Fuiseoige’ will be broadcasted on TG4 tonight (Tuesday, 15 November) at 9.30pm. Receiving the award at the Irish Embassy in London, Aodh said: “It is an honour to be selected for this award in the centenary year of the Easter Rising. The rebellion was the culmination of a cultural renaissance, a reawakening of old myths, sagas and traditions, many of them attached to the land of Ireland and surviving for thousands of years. I hope ‘Fís na Fuiseoige’ and this award will inspire students and those seeking to tell stories in new media, on different platforms, with ever developing technologies and methods of reaching people.” ‘Fís na Fuiseoige’, written and directed by Aodh Ó Coileáin, premiered to critical acclaim at this year’s Dublin International Film Festival. The film won Best Cinematography at the Earth Day Film Festival in San Francisco last April, and this year has screened at a film festival in Chicago and at the Irish Arts Centre in New York. The focus of ‘Fís na Fuiseoige’ is the love for the home-place as reflected in poetry and literature in Irish. In Ireland, landscape is not just geography, but a mnemonic for literature and poetry. Landscape and stories are inseparable. “Aodh Ó Coileáin’s beautifully intimate portrait of language and place is a reminder again of the importance of the language in the Gaelic Revival, the cultural rebellion that was the catalyst for the later rebellion. In serving as a pool of traditions that were lost under anglicization, the language was used as a means of re-imagining, of conceiving of a new identity,” said Seán Finnan, Film Ireland. The film was produced by Colm Hogan and Dr Marina L. Levitina of Counterpoint Films, and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and TG4. Media courses offered by NUI Galway through its Irish-language academy, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, include BA Cumarsáid agus Gaeilge (GY122); the subject Léann na Cumarsáide on BA – Joint Honours (GY101) and the MA sa Chumarsáid (GYA93). -Ends- Gradam don Scannán Faisnéise is Fearr Bronnta ar Theagascóir an Acadaimh Bronnadh an Gradam don Scannán Faisnéise is Fearr ag Féile Scannán na hÉireann i Londain ar ‘Fís na Fuiseoige’ le hAodh Ó Coileáin ag ócáid in Ambasáid na hÉireann sa Bhreatain i Londain aréir. Teagascóir iriseoireachta le hAcadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, in OÉ Gaillimh is ea Aodh. Bíonn sé ag teagasc ar an gcéim BA Cumarsáid agus Gaeilge agus ar an ábhar nua Léann na Cumarsáide sa chéim ghinearálta sna dána BA (Comhonóracha) atá ar fáil ar champas na hOllscoile i nGaillimh. Craolfar ‘Fís na Fuiseoige’ ar TG4 anocht (Dé Máirt, 15 Samhain) ag 9.30pm. Ag glacadh leis an gradam dúirt Aodh: “Cúis áthais faoi leith gur i mbliana agus Éirí Amach na Cásca á chomóradh, a bronnadh an gradam seo ar ‘Fís na Fuiseoige’. Toradh ar athbheochan cultúir a bhí san Éirí Amach, athmhuscailt na scéalta agus na dtraidisiún a bhain le talamh na hÉireann. Mhair an t-ábhar seo thar na mílte bliain agus tá súil agam go spreagfaidh ‘Fís na Fuiseoige’ agus an gradam seo mic léinn agus daoine eile tabhairt faoi na scéalta seo a insint ar mheáin nua, le teicneolaíocht atá de shíor ag forbairt, i mbealaí úra an lucht féachana a aimsiú.” Tá aird na léirmheastóirí ar an scannán ‘Fís na Fuiseoige’, a scríobh agus a stiúir Aodh Ó Coileáin. Bronnadh gradam don Chineamatagrafaíocht ab Fhearr air ag Féile Scannán Lá na Cruinne in San Francisco i mí Aibreáin. Bhí an scannán le feiceáil ag féile i Chicago an mhí seo caite. Taispeánadh é don chéad uair ag Féile Idirnáisiúnta Scannán Bhaile Átha Cliath i mí Feabhra, agus ag ócáid in Ionad Ealaíon na hÉireann, Nua-Eabhrac i mí Aibreáin. Sa scannán ‘Fís na Fuiseoige’ pléitear an dáimh le dúthaigh a mhúnlaigh an tsamhlaíocht liteartha Ghaelach agus an féinaitheantas Éireannach ón gcianaimsir anuas.  “Léiríonn portráid álainn dúthaigh agus teanga Aodh Uí Choileáin an tábhacht a bhain leis an nGaeilge san athbheochan, an réabhlóid chultúrtha sin a tháinig roimh Éirí Amach na Cásca.  Úsáideadh scata traidisiún a bhí ceangailte leis an nGaeilge, a bhí caillte i ngalldú na tíre chun féinaitheantas nua a shamhlú,” a dúirt Seán Finnan, Film Ireland. Ba iad Colm Hogan agus an Dr Marina L. Levitina, Counterpoint Films, a léirigh an scannán, a mhaoinigh Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann agus TG4.  Ar na filí iomráiteacha atá páirteach sa scannán tá: Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Biddy Jenkinson, Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Louis de Paor, Paddy Bush, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn agus Jackie Mac Donncha. Ar na cúrsaí cumarsáide a chuireann an tAcadamh ar fáil in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh tá BA Cumarsáid agus Gaeilge (GY122), an t-ábhar Léann na Cumarsáide ar BA – Comhonóracha (GY101) agus MA sa Chumarsáid (GYA93). -Críoch-  

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The first group of NUI Galway students undertaking the Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and Masters in Medical and Healthcare Simulation recently attended a two-day workshop as part of their course. The hands-on interactive simulation based learning workshop was held at SIMWEST in Galway University Hospital. The three postgraduate programmes are carried out through distance learning with one workshop and the participants at the first workshop came from as far afield as Chile. This distance learning programme is the first of its kind in Ireland and caters to the growing interest in healthcare simulation. The students are from a variety of healthcare backgrounds including nursing, paramedic science, surgery, anaesthetics and medical education. They participated in designing and running high fidelity mannequin based simulations. They had opportunities to test out multiple task simulators, to make their own simulators and to develop their moulage skills during a special effects workshop. Dr Dara Byrne, Senior Lecturer in Medical Education and Simulation, NUI Galway’s School of Medicine, said: “We developed this postgraduate programme to support the large number of healthcare professionals who are both interested and involved in simulation. Our amazing group of learners from all avenues of healthcare share their experiences and own expertise through interactive discussion boards which is an important part of the programme.” The workshop was delivered by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in simulation based learning from both NUI Galway and Galway University Hospital. -Ends-

Monday, 14 November 2016

CÚRAM at NUI Galway, NIBEC at Ulster University and the NSF-ERC for Revolutionising Metallic Biomaterials in the USA to join forces. Tripartite partnership announced under Science Foundation Ireland’s innovative Centre to Centre programme. A unique grouping of research centres from the US, Ireland and Northern Ireland have formed a €1.5 million Centre-to-Centre collaborative partnership to develop a novel system to help bone fractures heal. CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, the National Science Foundation-ERC for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials (RMB) in the USA, and the Nanotechnology and Integrated Bioengineering Centre (NIBEC) at Ulster University have come together under the US-Ireland R&D programme. The announcement was made today by Science Foundation Ireland as part of its Centre-to-Centre Programme. Almost €500,000 has been awarded to CÚRAM, a Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre based at NUI Galway to carry out its role in the partnership. The intention is to develop novel magnesium alloys that can provide the mechanical integrity required to support bone fracture healing in patients, before being fully resorbed by the body. Current orthopaedic implants are fabricated from metals such as titanium or stainless steel.  Such implants are permanent (non-biodegradable), therefore a secondary surgery is frequently required to remove implants following bone fracture healing, especially in cases of high energy trauma such as traffic accidents and sports injuries. In contrast, magnesium alloys are biodegradable and, over a controlled time period, will undergo complete resorption in the body. Such biodegradability, coupled with the potential of magnesium to promote bone regeneration, offers a significant advantage over current orthopaedic implant technologies. Researchers from CÚRAM, RMB and NIBEC will work together to develop next-generation magnesium orthopaedic implants. Key challenges involve the achievement of biodegradation time-scales that precisely control the reduction the mechanical support provided by the implant during the fracture healing process. Novel experimental tests and computer models will be developed to optimise the functionality of a number of fracture fixation devices. According to Dr Patrick McGarry, Lead Investigator for CÚRAM: “The Centre-to-Centre programme aims to establish a new generation of orthopaedic implants fabricated from biodegradable magnesium alloys.  We will develop cutting-edge computer modelling techniques to simulate the performance of such implants in the body, leading to the identification of optimal design configurations and direct opportunities for delivery of clinical benefits.” “The partnership will promote a culture of entrepreneurship that supports creative and innovative engineers and provides valuable opportunities for researcher participation from undergraduate to post-doctoral level in the area of medical device design” explains Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM.  “It will also facilitate global economic and healthcare development through an innovative ecosystem, which will broaden the scope of technologies to treat disease.” The partnership will also foster a culture of innovation in bioengineering research and education; providing for entrepreneurship and economic development that will help the USA, ROI and NI to succeed in a global economy by directly engaging small innovative firms, industries and practitioners and technology transfer officers. The partnership is supported by industrial partners OrthoKinetic Technologies LLC and Fort Wayne Metals. Professor Brian Meenan and Drs Adrian Boyd and Patrick Lemoine at NIBEC, Ulster University, have been awarded £300,000 from the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland to enable their contributions to the Centre-to-Centre project.  According to Professor Meenan: “This exciting international collaboration provides a critical mass of research expertise capable of realising the potential of a new generation of orthopaedic implant devices that require a single surgical intervention. By enhancing key properties of magnesium alloy implant devices we will be able to control their resorption in a way that provides for improved clinical outcomes in previously difficult to manage factures.” Professor Jag Sankar, Director-NSF ERC for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials said: “This tripartite partnership creates a unique convergence of world-leading expertise from academia and industry in the fields of materials processing, surface characterization, and computational modeling with the shared goal of developing bioresorbable magnesium (Mg) alloy systems for orthopedic implant devices.  We are visioning to prepare the next-generation workforce in the global knowledge economy via study abroad opportunities and as well as transatlantic offerings of seminars and lectures. ” The goal of the Centre-to-Centre Programme is perfectly aligned with the overall vision of all three research Centres involved. RMB focuses on the development of transformational therapies through materials and sensing innovations; CÚRAM aims to develop affordable, innovative and transformative device-based solutions to treat global chronic diseases; and NIBEC combine skills in engineering, science and medicine in order to enhance the development of devices and systems which have applications in health care. This collaboration will also allow graduate students and post-doctoral researchers from RMB, CÚRAM and NIBEC to interact across both institutional and discipline boundaries in terms of the collaborative research tasks and will encourage cross-centre participation in specialized graduate-level modules and seminars. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland welcomed the announcement saying: “The Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres combine world-class scientific research with deep and significant enterprise engagement, excellence and impact. The opportunity to combine the expertise within our Research Centres with those in the United States and Northern Ireland will greatly enhance the research performed. These new collaborations will result in innovative discoveries and advances relating to renewable energy, new memory cells for electronic devices and biodegradable orthopaedic devices.” For more information please visit curamdevices.ie or follow us on twitter @curamdevices ends

Monday, 14 November 2016

The Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English TD, will travel to Galway for an Engineers Ireland West Region panel discussion on ‘Rebuilding Ireland: Solid foundations or hollow promises for housing?’. The event will be held at 7pm on Tuesday, 22 November, in the Oslo Bar in Salthill, in association with NUI Galway. The panel will also feature three distinguished speakers from different areas of the housing sector: Brian Coyle (Coyle Kennedy Consulting Engineers), Martin O’Connor (COPE Galway) and Gerard O’Toole (Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland). The event will be chaired by Lorna Siggins, Western and Marine Correspondent with The Irish Times. The discussion takes place in the context of the government’s new housing strategy, ‘Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness’, which aims to double housing construction, increase the supply of social housing and tackle homelessness. However, the plan has come in for criticism as a set of hollow promises while homelessness continues to spiral out of control. Dr Jamie Goggins, Chairperson of Engineers Ireland West Region and Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “Sustainable housing represents one of the greatest challenges for construction professionals, policy makers and broader Irish society. For example, with a mandatory requirement for all new buildings constructed after 2020 to be nearly zero energy buildings, as well as those receiving significant renovation, we really do need to be planning and building more energy efficient, cost effective, healthier and comfortable homes today rather than just meeting current minimum standards.” He continued: “Engineers Ireland is delighted to facilitate a public discussion on housing and I would like to invite everyone interested in finding solutions to the housing crisis to attend.” -ends-

Monday, 14 November 2016

Final year NUI Galway student invents service to see students get home safely A new service, Dash, will allow students to get taxis even when they have no cash, bank card or phone while ensuring the drivers get paid. Dash (Driving All Students Home) was created by NUI Galway final year Business Information Systems student Richie Commins and is currently available in Galway City and will be launched nationwide in January 2017. Richie, from Claregalway, Co. Galway, came up with the idea after being left in situations many times without the physical means to get taxis. Research carried out with the NUI Galway Students’Union verified that students often do not have the means to get a taxi at the end of the night leading to the safety of students being put in jeopardy. Students simply need to sign up for free at the website, www.dashcabz.ie/ and upload a photo of themselves and a bank card to pay for emergency taxis. Richie has designed a simple app for taxi drivers so even if a student gets into a taxi with nothing, all they have to do is tell the driver their name and four digit pin for the driver to view the student on the app. The driver verifies the student by their photo, sees their method of payment and takes them home at no extra cost. Richie said: “This is the very basic version. There are many more features coming early next year such as top-up, parent back up and the beacon button to let others know you’re safe even when you’ve no phone. Dash is planning a movement of safety across all campuses that won’t cost students anything extra and ensures taxi drivers get paid.” Richie did his third year student placement on campus with the Blackstone Launchpad where he developed the idea further. The University supported Richie to sign up hundreds of students to test the prototype with three local taxi companies Big O Taxis, Pro Cabs and Galway Taxis. After successfully proving the concept, he spent the summer months meeting student unions and taxi companies across the country. The app will be implemented in the coming months in all university cities. Luke Fitzpatrick, UCD Student Union said: “I genuinely think it is fantastic that taxis, unions and students are recognising the need for getting students home safe. It is something I personally stand behind and hope all Dublin taxis jump on board with Lynk, Xpert and so on.” Colin O’Mara,Cork Chamber of Commerce and Cork Taxi Co-op, said: “Cork Taxi Coop are delighted to be involved in ensuring the Students of today and tomorrow have the peace of mind to get home safely.”     An Garda Síochána will be supporting the initiative through their Campus Watch programme. Sergeant Pat Flanagan, Officer for Crime Prevention,said: “The taxis that have integrated with Dash have really shown they care about students, and hopefully, all taxis will soon be branded with the safety Dash brings.” For further information on the initiative visit www.dashcabz.ie/. -Ends-

Monday, 14 November 2016

Students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Athlone on Thursday, 17 November. Students interested in undergraduate or postgraduate courses are welcome to attend. Parents, guardians and guidance counsellors are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and the undergraduate courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and 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 innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique offerings include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, a Marine Science degree and Podiatric Medicine, the only offering of this course in Ireland. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the BSc (Applied Social Sciences). Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “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 County Westmeath, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Athlone is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Athlone, contact NUI Galway’s Recruitment Officer Siobhan Dorman on 086 0421591 or siobhan.dorman@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 14 November 2016

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy project, The Voices of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination (VOICES) will hold a seminar on ‘The Freedom to Choose: Contracts, Capacity and the Law’.  The free public seminar will take place on Friday, 18 November in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway.  Contracts are entered every single day - when shopping, paying bills or downloading apps on mobile phones. However, many people are denied the opportunity to make legally binding contracts, often because they are perceived to lack mental capacity. This seminar will explore capacity to contract in many areas of life for people with disabilities (including people with dementia and mental health experience) such as tenancy agreements, buying a home, contracts for services and financial agreements. It will examine how with the right support, people can make legally binding contracts that respect their will and preferences, while providing security for third parties who enter into contracts with people using this kind of support. The seminar will be of interest to students, researchers, people with disabilities, people with experience of the mental health system, family members, and practitioners in the fields of law, health and social care. Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Principal Investigator on the VOICES Project and Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “The speakers at the event come from a wide range of countries including Bulgaria, Kenya, Ireland, Australia, Canada, the US and the UK. The speakers also have a diverse range of experience – as lawyers, researchers, self-advocates and activists, with personal and professional experience of contract law and the restrictions faced by people with disabilites when entering into contracts in all areas of life. Together, we hope to answer some of the most difficult questions about how equality before the law and freedom of choice can be guaranteed for people with disabilities, by reflecting on the stories and experiences of participants in the project and jointly developing new proposals for reform.” The VOICES project is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, awarded to Dr Eilionóir Flynn, the youngest person to ever receive such an award. Further information is available at www.ercvoices.com or email Clíona de Bhailís on ercvoices@nuigalway.ie or 091 494272. Participant accessibility requests and enquiries are welcomed. -Ends-

Thursday, 10 November 2016

NUI Galway is delighted to host a major international academic conference as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme , entitled 1916-2016: The Promise and Challenge of National Sovereignty. As the Centenary year draws to a close, this conference, which is free and open to the public, offers an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of the year and to explore what it means to be a republic in the 21st century. The conference, which opens today Thursday, 10 November will be held in the Bailey Allen Hall until Saturday, 12 November, with contributions from leading Irish and international scholars, reflecting on a century of national sovereignty and examining how the Irish State has delivered on the promise of Easter 1916. At the opening of the Conference, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D. said: "The idea for a major academic conference came from the expert advisory group on commemorations, which we set up when we entered government in 2011, chaired by Dr Maurice Manning. This conference is about the new scholarship of 2016 – an exploration of what we know at the end of the Centenary Year that we didn’t know before. Over the course of the last twelve months, what began as reflections on patriotism became conversations about political values and civic culture. We thought we were looking at the past, but it turned out that we are more interested in looking to the future, but a future based on the finest values of the past. The Centenary Year – and this national conference in Galway - gives us the opportunity to articulate and define what this generation must do to create a legacy worthy of the legacy bequeathed to us." Speaking at the opening address, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “For the next three days, NUI Galway is proud to be the venue for a landmark moment in this year of national reflection as we host the academic conference, Ireland 1916-2016: The Promise and Challenge of National Sovereignty. As the centrepiece of The Centenary Conversations this conference is intended to round off this special year and to begin a conversation about Ireland’s identity and choices for the next 100 years. We will reflect on a century of national sovereignty and examine how the Irish State has delivered on the promise of Easter 1916 and we’ll be prompted to question what the future holds for Ireland as a small nation state on the periphery of Europe, in an increasingly globalised world. NUI Galway is pleased to host this important national conversation and I am particularly pleased that the all universities on the island of Ireland are represented in the conference programme… along with institutes of technology, other colleges, independent scholars and cultural institutions.” The conference will feature a host of internationally-renowned academics, historians and special guests, and will explore and debate some of the most important issues and challenges facing us today.  The conference will be opened by An Taoiseach and participants will include Minister Humphreys, Professor Roy Foster (University of Oxford), Professor Philip Pettit (Princeton University), Professor Louise Richardson (University of Oxford), Professor Clair Wills (Princeton University), Fintan O’Toole, and Professor Brendan O'Leary (University of Pennsylvania), as well as academics from across the entire third level sector in Ireland. Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys T.D. added: “This conference at NUI Galway is one of the final flagship events of this centenary year, and it will provide us with an important opportunity to reflect on the year to date and to consider what’s next. We will hear from some of the leading historians who helped to us to understand the events of 100 years ago, and we will also consider the impact the centenary celebrations have had on our views of culture and identity. My focus has is now turning to the legacy we can build for the future, with a renewed focus on culture and creativity as central to Irish life.” A specially curated Fringe programme of talks, exhibitions, performances and special events will also take place in NUI Galway and in venues across the city.  Highlights of the fringe programme include: Ceann Comhairle, Hector Ó hEochagáin will convene a special sitting of the 2116 Parliament, where ten guest speakers will deliver a five-minute motion to the Assembly, after which questions may be taken from the floor. Look beyond the headlines and seek out the complicated and sometimes inconvenient truth in The Experts Bite Back, where experts fact-checks claims by politicians and the media on recent controversial issues and in a mission to get to the truth of the matter. Award-winning 16 x 16 Next Generation artist Sian Ní Mhuirí presents 16 and Rising, the story of a secret revolutionary organisation of women and men who gather in a basement to plan an insurrection that will transform the city, and challenge the survival of the 32nd Dáil. Host of the popular Hedge School series, Tommy Graham comes to Galway with the History Ireland Hedge School: All Changed, Changed Utterly … from 1916 to Brexit. A discussion with a difference, and considerable good humour! Those who may be interested in attending this free event can find a full Conference Programme here and Registration details here or see www.ireland.ie -Ends-  Mórchomhdháil Chomórtha Céad Bliain ag oscailt in OÉ Gaillimh Cúis áthais do OÉ Gaillimh go mbeidh mórchomhdháil acadúil idirnáisiúnta ar siúl anseo, mar chuid de Chlár Comórtha Céad Bliain ar 1916, dar teideal Éire 1916-2016: Gealladh agus Dúshláin na Ceannasachta Náisiúnta. Agus deireadh ag teacht leis an gComóradh Céad Bliain, deis atá sa chomhdháil seo, atá saor in aisce agus oscailte don phobal, le breathnú siar ar oidhreacht na bliana agus machnamh a dhéanamh faoin gciall atá le poblacht san 21ú haois. Cuirfear tús leis an gcomhdháil inniu Déardaoin, an 10 Samhain, i Halla Bailey Allen agus beidh sí ar siúl go dtí Dé Sathairn, an 12 Samhain. Beidh scoláirí mór le rá as Éirinn agus níos faide i gcéin ag labhairt ag an gcomhdháil faoi chéad bliain de cheannasacht náisiúnta agus faoin gcaoi a bhfuil Stát na tíre seo ag comhlíonadh ghealladh na Cásca 1916. Agus an Chomhdháil á hoscailt aige, dúirt an Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D.: "Tháinig an smaoineamh faoi mhórchomhdháil ó shainghrúpa comhairleach ar chomóradh faoi chathaoirleacht an Dr Maurice Manning, a bhí bunaithe againn nuair a thosaigh an rialtas seo in 2011. Bun agus barr na comhdhála seo is ea scoláireacht nua 2016  – scrúdú ar an méid atá foghlamtha againn faoi dheireadh Bhliain an Chomórtha. Thosaíomar amach dhá mhí dhéag ó shin le machnamh ar thírghrá agus anois tá plé againn faoi luachanna polaitiúla agus cultúr cathartha. Shíleamar gur ag breathnú ar an am a caitheadh a bhíomar, ach i ndáiríre is mó suim atá againne san am atá le teacht, ach é a bheith bunaithe ar ardluachanna an am a caitheadh. Deis atá i mBliain an Chomórtha – agus sa chomhdháil náisiúnta seo i nGaillimh - cur síos a dhéanamh ar an méid a chaithfidh an ghlúin seo a dhéanamh chun oidhreacht shaibhir a chothú agus a chruthú." Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne mar óráid tosaigh:“As seo go ceann trí lá, is mór an onóir do OÉ Gaillimh an chomhdháil acadúil a bheith ar siúl anseo, Éire 1916-2016: Gealladh agus Dúshláin na Ceannasachta Náisiúnta. Ag croí na comhdhála seo beidh Comhráití an Chéid chun clabhsúr a chur le bliain speisialta agus tús a chur le comhrá faoi aitheantas na hÉireann agus a cuid roghanna as seo go ceann céad bliain. Breathnófar siar ar chéad bliain ceannasachta náisiúnta agus déanfar scrúdú ar an gcaoi a bhfuil Stát na hÉireann ag comhlíonadh ghealladh na Cásca 1916. Iarrfar orainn machnamh a dhéanamh faoi thodhchaí na hÉireann mar stát beag ar imeall na hEorpa agus muid ag feidhmiú níos mó ar leibhéal domhanda anois ná a bhí riamh. Is mór an onóir do OÉ Gaillimh go mbeidh an comhrá náisiúnta seo ar bun anseo agus táim an-sásta go mbeidh ionadaíocht ag gach ollscoil ar oileán na hÉireann i gclár na comhdhála… mar aon le hinstitiúidí teicneolaíochta, coláistí eile, scoláirí neamhspleácha agus institiúidí cultúir.” Beidh lucht acadúil a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta orthu mar aon le staraithe agus aíonna speisialta i mbun cainte ag an gcomhdháil agus déanfar plé ar chuid de na deacrachtaí agus na dúshláin is mó atá romhainn sa lá atá inniu ann.  Osclóidh an Taoiseach an chomhdháil agus i measc na rannpháirtithe beidh an tAire Humphreys, an tOllamh Roy Foster (Ollscoil Oxford), an tOllamh Philip Pettit (Ollscoil Princeton), an tOllamh Louise Richardson (Ollscoil Oxford), an tOllamh Clair Wills (Ollscoil Princeton), Fintan O’Toole, agus an tOllamh Brendan O'Leary (Ollscoil Pennsylvania), chomh maith le lucht acadúil as earnáil tríú leibhéal na hÉireann. Dúirt an tAire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta, Gnóthaí Réigiúnacha, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta Heather Humphreys T.D.: “Tá an chomhdháil seo ag OÉ Gaillimh ar cheann de na hócáidí móra deireanacha sa bhliain chomórtha seo agus is deis thábhachtach a bheas inti breathnú siar ar an mbliain go dtí seo agus ar an méid atá le teacht. Cloisfimid ó staraithe mór le rá a chuidigh linn tuiscint a fháil ar imeachtaí 100 bliain ó shin agus déanfaimid machnamh ar an tionchar a bhí ag an gcomóradh céad bliain ar ár ndearcadh faoi chultúr agus féiniúlacht. Tá an bhéim anois ar an oidhreacht a d'fhéadfaí a chruthú don todhchaí, agus béim láidir ar an gcultúr agus ar an gcruthaitheacht i saol na hÉireann.” Beidh clár Imeallach cainteanna, taispeántas, léirithe agus imeachtaí speisialta ar siúl chomh maith in OÉ Gaillimh agus in ionaid eile timpeall na cathrach.  Seo a leanas cuid de bhuaicphointí an chláir: Tabharfaidh an Ceann Comhairle, Hector Ó hEochagáin, Parlaimint 2116 le chéile áit a labhróidh deichniúr cainteoirí ar rún áirithe ar feadh cúig nóiméad don Tionól. Beidh ceisteanna ón urlár ansin. Beidh deis féachaint ar chúrsaí reatha an lae le The Experts Bite Back, imeacht ina seiceáiltear fíricí a rinne polaiteoirí agus na meáin maidir le hábhair chonspóideacha le déanaí agus fírinne an scéil a fhiosrú. Ealaíontóir í Sian Ní Mhuirí a bhfuil gradam buaite aici do 16 x 16 Next Generation. Cuirfidh sí 16 and Rising inár láthair - scéal faoi eagraíocht rúnda ban agus fear a thagann le chéile in íoslach chun éirí amach a phleanáil a athróidh an chathair agus a chuirfidh an 32ú Dáil i mbaol. Tá Tommy Graham, a chuireann an tsraith Chois Chlaí i láthair, go Gaillimh le Scoil Chois Claí History Ireland: All Changed, Changed Utterly … from 1916 to Brexit. Plé neamhghnách a bheas anseo lán le greann agus le gáire! Tá Clár iomlán na Comhdhála le fáil anseo agus tá sonraí Clárúcháin le fáil anseo nó féach www.ireland.ie -Críoch-