Accessing a Wealth of Medical Information

Accessing a Wealth of Medical Information-image

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A new €4.4 million EU project A new €4.4 million EU project is using the latest web technologies to make the most of the wealth of medical information contained in electronic medical records. The project aims to aid decision-making for medical practitioners and improve safety in clinical research. The Linked2Safety project will build a medical and clinical data management infrastructure, using privacy-aware, semantic technology. At the forefront of technologies being deployed by the project, are researchers from the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at the National University of Ireland Galway. Their task is to imbue meaning into the data contained within the European healthcare information space, which is fragmented and disparate, and connect that data. To do so, the project will use ‘linked-data’ and other sematic technologies developed by DERI. “So much valuable information sits in seclusion in medical records in hospitals across Europe. They have the potential to significantly help and advance medical research, as well as improve health policies,” explains Ronan Fox, Health Care and Life Sciences Leader at DERI. “What we need to do is put in place a framework so that the information can be interconnected, this could lead to all kinds of possibilities. For example, within the context of the data governance, and legal and ethical framework created in Linked2Safety, individuals could be identified to join a clinical trial for a rare disease, whether they are in Ireland or Cyprus.” In addition, using ‘linked data’, information contained in the records will be leveraged in clinical research for the early detection of potential patient safety issues. Such issues might be based on genetic data analysis and the extraction of the bio-markers associated with an identified type of an adverse event. The Linked2Safety project will also support the effective organization and execution of clinical trials by allowing health carers and medical scientists to easily submit their own query and get homogenized access to high-quality medical data. Linked2Safety is an FP7 project funded by the European Commission under the area of ICT for health. With over 140 researchers, DERI is the largest web science institute of its kind in the world, set up in 2003 with funding from Science Foundation Ireland and the National University of Ireland Galway. -ends-

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REMEDI Strengthen Chinese Research Links

REMEDI Strengthen Chinese Research Links-image

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Officials from the Chinese Government Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) visited the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway last week.  Organised by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Ireland, the visit was a follow-up to the signing of collaborative research agreements between REMEDI and two Chinese research institutes based in Shanghai and Xi’an earlier this year. The collaboration will see the partners work together in the areas of regenerative medicine clinical trials, particularly in the areas of diabetes and orthopaedics.  As part of their visit the officials from MOST had the opportunity to see the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) at NUI Galway, which is a specially designed facility for manufacturing GMP-grade stem cells for use in human clinical trials. At present there is no similar facility in China. REMEDI hopes to work with its collaborators and the Chinese Government to help set up similar resources in China, ultimately opening up new opportunities for partnership in the area of clinical trials using stem cells. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of REMEDI states, “We look forward to undertaking collaborative clinical trials using stem cells in Ireland and China. This will allow efficacy to be assessed in different ethnic populations and will also serve to harmonize transnational conduct of such trials.” “We highly appreciate that NUI Galway has been actively developing close scientific collaborations with Chinese institutions in recent years”, added Liya Dong, Deputy Director General, Department of Science & Technology Development, MOST, “and we strongly support Ireland-China bi-lateral collaborations in life science and other areas, and will do our best to provide assistance for promoting the collaborations between NUI Galway and the Chinese Institutions in Shanghai and Xi’an.” The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) is a Science Foundation Ireland-funded Strategic Research Cluster, led by NUI Galway and with partners in University College Cork and NUI Maynooth. REMEDI is a partnership between scientists, clinicians and industry and it is the leading centre in the area of stem cell and regenerative medicine in Ireland. -ends-

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Winter Conferrings at NUI Galway

Winter Conferrings at NUI Galway -image

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

First Podiatry Students in Ireland to Graduate Over 1400 students, including the first Podiatry students in the country, will graduate from across the five colleges at NUI Galway at the University's winter conferring ceremonies, which take place from today, Wednesday 21 to Friday, 23 November. George Cunningham will also be conferred with an honorary Master of Arts degree. From Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, George Cunningham is a former Principal of Coolderry Central School, Birr, Co. Offaly. He was prominently associated with the successful campaign to save and subsequently restore Damer House in his native Tipperary town of Roscrea. He founded there, in 1980, Ireland’s first heritage centre together with the Roscrea Heritage Society, of which he is still President and honorary Life Member.  He has been deeply involved with every aspect of Irish heritage tourism during the past thirty years. He receives this honorary degree in recognition of his enormous contribution to heritage, conservation and education. The winter conferring will see the first cohort of graduates from the discipline of Podiatry in the School of Health Sciences at the University, which is the only undergraduate programme available in the Republic of Ireland leading to a BSc (Hons) in Podiatry. 13 students will graduate, qualifying after four years of study as healthcare professionals specialising in the management of disease and disorders of the lower limb and foot. Speaking in advance of the ceremonies, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The graduation of the first cohort of podiatry graduates in Ireland is a historic milestone.  We are delighted to have worked closely with colleagues in the HSE and with international experts to develop this new programme. I am also pleased that this week we will honour the achievements of George Cunningham, an enlightened educationalist and custodian of Irish heritage, by conferring him with an honorary degree.  In addition, degrees, higher diplomas, Masters and PhDs will be awarded to students graduating over the three days 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-

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Interactive Themes at Galway Science & Technology Festival Exhibition

Interactive Themes at Galway Science & Technology Festival Exhibition -image

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The 15th Galway Science and Technology Festival, part of National Science Week and sponsored by Medtronic Galway, will host the Festival’s Final Exhibition Day at NUI Galway on Sunday, 25 November from 10am to 6pm. Professor Pat Fottrell, Chairman of Science Foundation Ireland is the Festival’s special guest and will visit exhibits accompanied by Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, Mr Gerard Kilcommins, VP of Global Vascular Operations Medtronic, Professor Tom Sherry, Dean of Science NUI Galway, Mr Michael Carmody, President of GMIT, Dr Des Foley, Head of Science & Research GMIT and Mr Tom Hyland, Chairman of Galway Science & Technology Festival. During the Final Day Exhibition at NUI Galway visitors can enjoy over 80 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment at the Bailey Allen Hall and Orbsen Building. Visitors can take a tour of the new Engineering Building and visit the Zoology and Marine Biology Museum, while 20 separate shows for families will take place in the IT Building, Aula Maxima and the Arts and Science Concourse buildings. There will be a number of volunteers who will direct visitors to shows and exhibits and there will also be a Park and Ride facility at Corrib Village, Newcastle with a shuttle bus to and from the University Campus. Up to 20 Primary and Secondary Schools will exhibit stands covering Life Science, Technology and Physics and Chemistry themes, with the overall winning schools receiving a prize for most creative exhibits. Visitors can expect to be greeted by students lurking around exhibit areas dressed in mad scientist and bacteria costumes. Festival Sponsors providing exciting interactive exhibits include Medtronic, Galway Enterprise Board, NUI Galway, GMIT, Cisco, Boston Scientific, Avaya, SAP, Covidien, Hewlett Packard, Creganna, The Marine Institute and Galway County Council. Medtronic’s exhibit will focus on Innovation, with engineers on hand to demonstrate how to get from Idea to Product and all the steps in between. There will be a showcase of products for the treatment of Coronary Artery Disease and Hypertension. Visitors to the stand are encouraged to ask lots of questions and may be in with a chance of winning a prize. Medtronic will also provide a fun Games Corner where children of all ages are invited to come and test their manual dexterity with lots of helpful people from Medtronic on hand to greet you on the day. Gerard Kilcommins, VP of Global Vascular Operations and General Manager Galway Site Medtronic commented, “Medtronic became the main sponsor of the Galway Science and Technology Festival over ten years ago.  Since then, we are delighted to have experienced the journey that has seen the event evolve and flourish into one of the highlights in the calendars of the educational and science communities. This year’s theme is “Everyday Experimenting” and experimentation is something that makes Science and Technology so fascinating. Engaging the younger generation throughout this festival about the wonders and possibilities of Science and Technology will help ensure we have the pool of talented scientists and engineers so necessary for Ireland’s future success as a nation. As Thomas A. Edison once said, ‘to have a great idea, have a lot of them’ and I have no doubt the action-packed Exhibition on Sunday will generate lots of ideas and open minds to the many great possibilities and opportunities out there.” The Computer & Communication Museum of Ireland, part of the University’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute, will be on display in the Bailey Allen, providing a fascinating insight into advances in communications and computing through the years. Hewlett Packard will join the Coderdojo Galway members in the Museum and demonstrate coding. Also, on the day a Prize-Giving Ceremony will take place at the Boston Scientific stand, awarding the winner of the Coding the Big Bang competition where entrants had to create a web-based computer programme that explains the role of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The competition coincided with the CERN ‘Accelerating Science’ Exhibition sponsored by Boston Scientific in association with Coderdojo Galway City. Visitors to the Boston Scientific stand will also learn about the technology behind Angioplasty and Balloon Formation and try their hand at the Guidewire Tracking Challenge for a chance to win an iPad Nano every hour. NUI Galway will have a number of exhibits including a H-Racer and Solar Hydrogen Station. The H-Racer is the smallest and coolest hydrogen fuel cell car in the world. Visitors can witness the power of new energy technology in the palm of their hand. The car does not need batteres and uses a real fuel cell and its own on-board hydrogen storage system. The Hydrogen station will provide the H-Racer with an unlimited supply of clean energy. To create free hydrogen fuel at the flick of a switch, just add water to the station’s tank while fuelling is animated by a special blue light display. GMIT will have a number of interactive Science and Technology exhibit stands to mark their 40th Anniversary. Exhibit themes include How Engines Work where visitors will see how different engine types work with interactive models on display as well as touch screen animations, and Energy Engineering will demonstrate how energy management is a vital part of everyday life and learn about how energy can be harnessed from the sea, the sun and the wind. Family shows include Black John The Bogus Pirate, a cartoon workshop aimed at teaching children of all ages about marine environment while having fun. K’nex Roadshow, is based on a dynamic open ended spatial building system and Mr Bug with Matt Lewis allows children get up close to friendly tropical animals like snakes and lizards. Killaloe Exploration Dome is a mobile planetarium designed to explore science, astronomy, geology and geography in a fun and interactive way. True Physics Show is an interactive hands-on science show where students participate in launching rockets and flying helicopters and Sue McGrath’s Chemistry Show will demonstrate wacky experiments like super foams, colour changes and disgusting slime. Galway Science and Technology Festival Chairman, Tom Hyland commented, “On behalf of the Board of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, I would like to thank our main sponsor Medtronic and all of our partners who have contributed to the growth and development of this Festival into a very significant vehicle for the promotion of the STEM subjects to our young people and help bring excitement and fun to Science and Technology for children and families across the city and county.”  Exhibition day bookings can be made at www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com to help people plan their day. ENDS

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NUI Galway’s Access Programme Annual Awards Ceremony

NUI Galway’s Access Programme Annual Awards Ceremony-image

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Over 157 NUI Galway students received certificates at the annual NUI Galway Annual Access Awards Ceremony recently. The certificates were presented by Professor Chris Curtin, NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Innovation and Performance, for successful completion of the University’s Access courses delivered during the academic year 2011/2012, both on campus and in Outreach Centres in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Screebe, Co. Galway and in Longford. Also receiving awards were 73 Access Students who graduated with degrees in Arts, Commerce, Law, Engineering, Nursing and Medicine. A further 14 students who received post-graduate diplomas in Education, Health, Arts and Business Studies, and post-graduate degrees in Marketing, Social Work, Community Development and Law were also acknowledged.  NUI Galway’s Access Officer, Imelda Byrne, said: “By the end of this year, a total of 463 graduates and 139 postgraduates will have come through the University’s Access Programme since its introduction in 2001. This ceremony was to mark the wonderful achievement of those inspirational students and to commend all on their perseverance, dedication and hard work.”  The function of the NUI Galway Access Programme is to address and respond appropriately to the issues of equality of access, equity of life long opportunities and responding to the issues of rural (and to a lesser extent, urban) social exclusion in the Border, Midland and Western Region and County Clare. All of the elements of the access programmes have important initiatives designed to give everyone a chance to benefit from third level education.  -ENDS-

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Coca-Cola Executive Vice President visits NUI Galway Business Students

Coca-Cola Executive Vice President visits NUI Galway Business Students-image

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Bachelor of Commerce graduate and Executive Vice President of The Coca-Cola Company, Irial Finan took time during a business trip to Ireland this week to visit his Alma Mater, the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway. Mr Finan, who is also President of the Bottling Investments Group and Supply Chain, was on hand to talk to students of the Masters in International Management, passing on his valuable expertise in the arena of international management. The Roscommon native is responsible for managing a multi-billion dollar internal bottling business, the Bottling Investments Group (BIG), which has operations on four continents, with revenues of over $8 billion and employs in excess of 60,000 people. Additionally, he is responsible for stewarding the Company's equity investments. Dr Paul Ryan, Programme Director of the MSc (International Management) was delighted to have Mr Finan address the class saying,“The aim of the programme has always been to bring real learning into the class room. The insights he was able to provide, leading a company with a portfolio featuring 15 billion dollar brands, will not only stand to our students in their studies but also in their future careers.” Mr Finan commented: “The Coca-Cola Company operates in 207 countries and is truly both a global and a local company. We constantly challenge ourselves to remain relevant to our consumers. The ability to do business internationally across different cultures is a key feature of my role. I was delighted to share my thoughts with students in the institution which provided a springboard for my career.” ENDS

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Evening of Conversation with Dr John Killeen

Evening of Conversation with Dr John Killeen-image

Thursday, 22 November 2012

NUI Galway’s Alumni Club will host an interview with Dr John Killeen, CEO of Cold Chon and Chairperson of Let's Do it Galway, the group responsible for bringing the Volvo Ocean Race to the City. The interview will be conducted by fellow graduate and broadcaster, Tomás Ó Síocháin of RTÉ and TG4, on Thursday, 29 November at 8pm in NUI Galway's Engineering Building. Prior to the interview, guests will have the opportunity to take a tour of the award-winning Engineering Building at 7pm. Sandra Butler, Chairperson of NUI Galway Alumni Association, said: “John Killeen is one of those people who has a clear vision of what can be achieved when Galway makes full use of its maritime environment. The Volvo Ocean Race is but one example of that potential.” Registration can be completed online at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni or by contacting the Alumni Office on 091493750 or alumni@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway's Intergenerational Learning Programme Wins Major European Award

NUI Galway's Intergenerational Learning Programme Wins Major European Award-image

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Living Scenes programme in Millstreet Community School, Co. Cork has been awarded second place in an EU Commission competition, celebrating the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. At a ceremony in Brussels recently, Millstreet Community School beat off 1,000 schools from 30 countries to win this major accolade and put intergenerational learning in Ireland on the European radar. The Living Scenes programme, which is designed, implemented and funded by NUI Galway, has been in existence since 1999 and is currently in eight centres throughout Ireland. A Transition Year based initiative, NUI Galway’s Living Scenes allows teenagers and older adults to learn together, share experiences and build bonds of mutual respect and understanding through a curricular based programme of learning. A strong emphasis is placed on the holistic development of the participants, promoting equality, personal development, well being and confidence building in both the younger and older adults. The winning entry from Millstreet Community School saw retired adults and teenagers from the school create a multi-media programme aimed at bridging the gap between young and old. The Living Scenes group created an intergenerational rap song; compiled a book titled Two Generations, One Road; and used clay, wood, tiles, glass, and metal to create a permanent display about crossing the generational divide to scoop their prestigious award. The generations@school Project is organised by the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations and is about engaging pupils and seniors in intergenerational dialogue. This year the focus is on bringing together pupils and older people to engage in a conversation about what it means to get older and how older and younger people can collaborate for a better life.  Living Scenes is the brainchild of NUI Galway's Dr Mary Surlis, and as the Living Scenes Programme Director, she has developed the programme on a national level. Commenting on the award, Dr Surlis said: “This is a wonderful achievement for the Living Scenes Programme and in particular for John Magee, Pat Piggott and his staff, the outstanding participants and facilitation team in Millstreet Community School. Such an achievement cements the programme as a world class example of civic engagement from a university perspective and also highlights the value of experiential learning in a school’s curriculum.” Congratulating Millstreet Community School on its success, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: “This is a wonderful example of intergenerational learning in Millstreet. It also highlights the prioritisation of civic engagement here at NUI Galway. I would like to congratulate all involved in the project – teachers, school leadership, students, seniors and my own colleagues here in the University - on their tremendous achievement in winning this prestigious EU Commission prize. John Magee, co-ordinator of the Living Scenes programme at Millstreet Community School, said: “This is a wonderful achievement for our school. I would like to thank Dr Mary Surlis, Living Scenes Programme Director, and NUI Galway, who have supported the project in Millstreet from the start. Over the seven years that Living Scenes has been in Millstreet Community School, a great many friendships have been formed between the older adults and the 80 students who have taken part in the project over that time. Rather than one group assuming the role of ‘expert’ on a certain topic, people from both age groups have been given the opportunity to work collaboratively, learning about one another along the way.  A lot of misconceptions about ‘youth and old age’ have been dispelled through the work of the project.”  -ENDS-

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Volvo Ocean Race Report Finds Economic Benefit of €60.5 million to Host City

Volvo Ocean Race Report Finds Economic Benefit of €60.5 million to Host City-image

Monday, 26 November 2012

Over 500,000 visitors to Galway City; 97% positive rating for festival experience                                   Over 1 billion global audience for Galway A new report from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway reveals that the Volvo Ocean Race Finale (VOR) which took place in Galway city earlier this year, having hosted a stopover for the Race in 2009, was worth €60.5 million to the Irish economy. Over 500,000 visitors attended events during the festival period from 30 June to 8 July 2012, with 16% of those coming from outside of Ireland. The 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race lasted for nine months and covered 39,270 nautical miles. The boats circumnavigated the globe, visiting eight stopover ports before finishing in Galway. The participants sailed through four oceans and visited ports in five continents, making it the toughest sailing event in the world. Hundreds of thousands of spectators visited the race villages in the participating ports, while millions tuned in via numerous media channels. The report, An Economic Assessment of the Volvo Ocean Race Finale, Galway 2012, takes an in-depth scientific examination of the economic impact of the event in Galway over the nine day period. It also reports on the extra-economic benefits of the VOR finale which saw an investment by organisers and Galway City of €7.6 million. Speaking of the findings, Dr Patrick Collins of NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute said: “For nine days and nights, Galway City became the focal point of one of the most highly regarded international sporting events, supported by over 275 free events around the city. The magnitude of the event in terms of the relatively small economy of the Galway area was exceptional.” For the duration of the event the harbour area of Galway city was transformed into a hub of activity in both the commercial and entertainment spheres. The addition of the ‘Global Village’, a unique expo highlighting the best of Irish business, education and craft, brought a new feel and focus to the event. The hosting of showcases under the pillars of marine, innovation, green and food, was a platform for the city and the region to display its unique strengths. The report, which was launched today (26 November) at NUI Galway, identifies key questions on the event’s economic impact. Findings reveal the direct expenditure of €35.5 million and indirect spend during the festival period of €25 million giving an overall economic impact of €60.5 million. The hospitality industries gained the most in terms of relative increase in revenue. In particular the Bar/Lounge sector enjoyed a significant boost over the course of the event with turnover showing a 50% increase across the sector. However, a quarter of local businesses found their business was negatively affected by the Race as most of the economic benefit was located in the areas surrounding the event and particularly by the hospitality industries. Dr Patrick Collins explains: “What becomes immediately obvious when we look at the relative change in turnover spatially is the tight geography of benefit. What might be termed the ‘honey-pot’ effect of the Race and Global Villages are obvious with adjacent businesses in particular sectors gaining extra revenue. Revenue gains were highly differentiated by location and business sector. ” Positive employment figures showed an increase in numbers employed over the course of the event, with over 70% of these in the hospitality industry and more than 80% of this located in Galway city centre. However, these employment gains were of a temporary nature - of those hired on a full or part-time basis, 42% were for the duration of the festival only, and only 7% of the new employees lasting beyond a three month period. The report states that approximately 800,000 visits were recorded to the Race Village and the Global Village over the duration of the Volvo Ocean Race festival and 97% of these race attendees rated their Galway experience as positive. According to Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway: “The Volvo Ocean Race finale focused the attention of a global audience of over one billion on the city of Galway for the duration of the event. This kind of attention brings with it massive opportunities for the promotion of the city and its businesses.”  Extra economic impacts examined and included in the report include results on how businesses and attendees during the Volvo Ocean Race Finale also cited non-economic aspects of the festival. More than 1,500 volunteers took part in the organisation of the Volvo Ocean Race finale in Galway. They contributed thousands of hours to cater for more than 500,000 visitors to the nine-day event. Dr Mulligan added:  “Looking beyond the economic helps us identify the ancillary benefits and costs of hosting an international event of this scale. Economic impact events of this magnitude are significant but it is incumbent on any assessment to incorporate the extra economic impacts such as boost of morale for the host city and the upsurge of community spirit experienced by all. While the commercial emphasis was obvious, the event did not lose the key element which was held most precious during the 2009 stopover, the family-friendly community spirit.” The report was compiled by Dr Patrick Collins, Dr Stephen Hynes and Dr Emer Mulligan of NUI Galway on behalf of Let’s Do It Global. ENDS

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NUI Galway Creates New Innovative Resources for the Science Classroom

NUI Galway Creates New Innovative Resources for the Science Classroom-image

Friday, 23 November 2012

NUI Galway’s School of Education recently developed and launched the Sci-Hook Series, an innovative APPLE iBook resource for science educators. Sci-Hooks are introductory video clips which aim to grab the learner’s attention by capturing what is interesting and engaging about a range of science topics. The series forms part of the School of Education’s mission to build collaborative and supportive partnerships with second-level schools. Dr Veronica McCauley and Seán Ó Grádaigh, lecturers from the School of Education at NUI Galway, led this Science Education Research project with a design team of student science teachers from NUI Galway’s Professional Diploma in Education and Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas programmes. Dr Mary Fleming, Director of Teacher Education with NUI Galway’s School of Education, said: “Engaging student interest in a learning process which is relevant and connected with the students’ own life experiences not only determines what they will learn, but also the depth of learning and degree to which they process the material being taught.” These Sci-Hook resources have been developed into a set of three iBooks - Physics, Chemistry and Biology, with over 10 videos and support material available in each category, with over 30 Sci-Hooks created for the Junior Science classroom.   The creative design process was highlighted by NUI Galway’s Dr Veronica McCauley: “The design team has created innovative videos that capture novel and engaging aspects of science, and engage pupils immediately with their curious content, quirky film editing and animation fluidity. These edgy snippets have been created in a way that allows seamless translation into other languages. As such, a vibrant team of Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas students have adapted them for dissemination throughout Irish Medium Schools nationally.” NUI Galway’s Seán Ó Grádaigh emphasised the impact that this new form of iPad technology has had in terms of initial dissemination, saying: “Prior to its launch, Sci-Hook Series had already received over 500 downloads. They are available on iBookstores across 50 countries, with our largest market being the US with 32% of all downloads and this is expected to increase further as the Biology resources are published.” These iBook resources are free to download on your iPad through the iBookstore and also available as videos and pdf on iTunesU and through the scoilnet portal. Funding from NUI Galway, An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) and Apple Ireland supported the project. -ENDS-

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