Thursday, 12 April 2018

Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, has been elected to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows. Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer. The honour comes in recognition of Professor Pandit’s contributions to establishing a national centre which will develop transformative device-based solutions to treat global chronic diseases. AIMBE is a non-profit organisation headquartered in Washington, representing the most accomplished individuals in the fields of medical and biological engineering. Professor Pandit built a critical mass of biomaterial expertise in Ireland through the establishment of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, a strategic cluster that developed implantable materials for cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and soft tissue repair. Building on this critical mass of expertise, he now leads CÚRAM, based at NUI Galway. CÚRAM brings together 510 researchers with expertise in biomaterials, biomechanics, regenerative medicine, glycobiology, drug delivery and medical implant design, in addition to 27 industry partners. Commenting on his election to the College of Fellows, Professor Pandit said: “I am delighted and honoured to be recognised by such an esteemed group. Our goal at CÚRAM is to radically improve quality of life for patients with chronic illness and through our work here I look forward to contributing to AIMBE’s critical mission of advancing excellence and advocating for the fields of medical and biological engineering.” Professor Pandit has already been inducted as an International Fellow in Biomaterials Science and Engineering and a Fellow of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society, the first Irish academic to receive both of these honours. Professor Pandit has co-ordinated four EU projects worth over €14 million and is a Senior Associate Editor of Biomaterials and an Executive Editorial Board member for Tissue Engineering journals. He has also developed an education and public engagement programme at CÚRAM to create innovative ways for communities to engage with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, and to increase the visibility of Irish research in the biomedical engineering field, both nationally and internationally. The goal of the programme is to build and maintain strong relationships with key community partners to bring outputs to under-represented and under-engaged communities to increase diversity of researchers within the field. Professor Pandit joins the prestigious AIMBE group of medical and biological engineers that includes Nobel Laureates, Presidential Medal of Science winners and members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The organisation brings together academia, industry, government, and scientific societies into a highly influential community in medical and biological engineering. -Ends-

Thursday, 12 April 2018

NUI Galway will shortly be recruiting for its Access Course for 2018/19 for young adults and mature students who have potential for third level but whom, for various reasons, may not achieve the necessary Leaving Certificate results for entry to NUI Galway. The successful applicant would be someone who, despite unemployment or lack of formal education, sees a third level qualification as a way to improve their skills and advance their career. The programme is specifically designed for young adults and mature students who have a real desire to study at third-level but whose education and economic circumstances may have prevented them from achieving this goal.  This programme is also suitable for students with disabilities, whose education has been affected by long-term absence. The main aim of the course is to bring the students to a stage where they can successfully enter a third level institution and on entry, can fully participate and benefit from the time they spend as a student. Two Information sessions will run on Tuesday, 17 April at the following locations: The Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo between 2-4pm Room IT 250, IT Building, NUI Galway between 6-8pm If you are interested in the NUI Galway Access Course and wish to attend our Information Session, please register at www.nuigalway.ie/access/publicevents/ Online applications for Access Courses will be accepted until Friday, 27 April, 2018. For further information, please contact: access@nuigalway.ie or 091-493553 and you can also find us on: www.facebook.com/NUIGaccess -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, based at NUI Galway, is working with researchers in Oxford University on the MERMAIDS Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) study. It is part of a Europe-wide study across eight countries, which aims to recruit a total of 2,000 participants. The results of this study will help to improve the prevention, treatment and care of patients with these infections. Acute respiratory infections such as colds, influenza and pneumonia affect millions of people globally each year. The majority of cases are mild, but some people become very ill and are admitted to hospital for treatment. HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland Director, Professor Andrew Murphy at NUI Galway, said: “It is very important that primary care patients in Ireland are given the opportunity to contribute to significant international studies. We are delighted to see our Network practices exceeding the national recruitment target, and agreeing to continue recruitment in order to contribute to the European target.” Recruitment in Galway is taking place in Galway University Hospital, GalviaWest Medical Centre in Westside, the Kingston Medical Centre in Knocknacarra, and in County Clare at Ballyvaughan Medical Centre. The willingness of Irish patients and staff to participate in this important study in what is the busiest time of the year in primary care highlights the interest among the Irish public in contributing to answering important healthcare questions.  The MERMAIDS-ARI study is funded by the European Commission’s FP7 Programme, under a programme set up to support research organisations to undertake research into the care and treatment of emerging infections and to improve European preparedness of these infections. For more information about the study, contact Martha Killilea, HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network, in NUI Galway at martha.killilea@nuigalway.ie or 091-495308. -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Dr Claire Conway, lecturer in Biomedical Engineering and Principal Investigator in the Biomechanics Research Centre at NUI Galway, has been awarded $20,000 funding from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to collaborate on exploring how to enable innovative device and therapeutic design for cardiac disease. Dr Conway will collaborate with MIT Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor Ellen Roche. The funding was awarded to initiate a collaborative exchange between the two emerging investigators and their respective research groups. Professor Roche won international acclaim in 2017 during her time as a researcher in NUI Galway, for her work in creating a soft robotic sleeve to help patients with heart failure live with much better quality of life while waiting for a heart transplant, thanks to a sleeve placed around the affected organ. Dr Conway’s research has been motivated by failure analysis of coronary stents, in particular stent fracture which increases the risk of blood clots forming or arterial blockages reforming. Using computational modelling, she is developing 3D virtual models of the beating heart to better understand how this dynamic motion affects cardiac device design. Professor Roche’s research investigates the design, building, and testing of cardiac devices, including soft robotic techniques, and the melding of mechanical and biological therapeutics for improved therapeutic regimens. Through this exchange both scientists will combine their expertise to conduct rigorous and comprehensive evaluation of cardiac devices. Speaking about the funding award, Dr Claire Conway from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to advance cardiac device design and I am thrilled to be working with Professor Roche on this MISTI funded exchange. I believe both groups will benefit from the knowledge and experience gained and I look forward to this being a fruitful collaboration.” Professor Ellen Roche from MIT, added: “I’m delighted to be involved with Dr Conway and others from the Discipline of Biomedical Engineering on this project. The awarded MISTI funds will enable fluid exchange of knowledge and people between NUI Galway and MIT that will output strong research, exploiting the expertise of both groups and enhancing ongoing inter-institutional collaboration.” The exchange program will enable Dr Conway and Professor Roche to deliver workshops on their work at MIT, exploring how to enable innovative device and therapeutic design for cardiac disease. In turn a workshop at NUI Galway on cardiac medical device design, novel manufacturing and prototyping methods, bench-top modelling and testing will also be delivered. The funds will also support visits of two MIT graduate students to visit Dr Conway in Ireland for five weeks and allow two NUI Galway graduate students to visit Professor Roche in MIT for five weeks. The funds will enable existing collaboration to flourish and the fluid transition of students and faculty will generate new ideas in the cardiac devices. -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Report calls for policy change to enable persons with disabilities the opportunity to direct their own services and live independently A report published by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, calling for policy change to enable persons with disabilities the opportunity to have greater choice and control over their service provision, was recently launched by Senator John Dolan at the Disability Federation of Ireland. The report, presented by Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, is entitled ‘Independent Living: An Evaluation of the Áiseanna Tacaíochta model of Direct Payments’. The research, carried out by Professor Gerard Quinn and Dr Sinéad Keogh from NUI Galway, examines if direct payments, where individuals with disabilities purchase services and direct their own care, creates a better quality of life than that of the traditional model of service provision, at no extra cost. Professor Gerard Quinn from NUI Galway, comments: “The past number of years have seen a global shift from a welfare system, which has treated persons with disabilities as dependent, passive recipients of ‘care’, towards a growing recognition of the need for a new approach that enables persons with disabilities to assume an active role in the society in which they live. This has been mirrored in Ireland by the growing demand by the Irish disability community for control and choice over how they wish to live their lives and the services they use.” The report reaffirms the findings of international literature that point to considerable benefits for users of direct payments, arising from greater flexibility, choice, independence, continuity of support and the customising of support packages. It also highlights the need for a policy change in Ireland in relation to how services are delivered for persons with disabilities’ and emphasises the need for a change to the current model of service provision in Ireland. Key findings from the report: The Direct Payments model of service provision, facilitated by Áiseanna Tacaíochta, places persons with disabilities at the centre of the decision-making process, recognises their strengths and preferences and gives them the confidence, support and means to shape the way in which their care is provided by transferring choice and control over funding decisions to them and allowing them to identify their unique individual needs. Not only does the Direct Payments model of individualised funding offer more clarity and transparency as to how public funds are spent but the Direct Payments model demonstrates cost savings and cost efficiencies. The report estimates that eighteen people achieved cost savings of approximately €136,000 in one year by directing their own services, such as hiring their own personal assistants and taking on the administrative burden that comes with running their own companies. The report makes four key recommendations: The need for the Direct Payments model and other models of individualised funding to receive further funding and support from the Government. The importance of the requirement of a single assessment tool to evaluate individuals’ resource allocations based on individual goals, the impact of disability, family circumstances and living arrangements. The transformation of the disability service provision model to permit persons with disabilities to more easily move their service provision from one Community Healthcare Organisation to another. Individualised funding budgets being extended to the purchase of equipment, aids, and other goods and services that relate to the healthcare needs of the individual following an assessment. Commenting on the results from the report, María Soleded Cisternas Reyes, United Nations Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, said: “This report shows that without a doubt, direct payments, as a model of service provision, works to give independence back to persons with disabilities. Being in control of one’s services enhances well-being and empowers individuals. Direct Payments is a step in the right direct for service provision in Ireland. Professor Theresia Degener, Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Professor of Law and Disability Studies (Protestant University of Applied Sciences, RWL, Germany), said: “This report comes timely just before Ireland will ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In our General Comment No 5 the CRPD Committee has emphasized that direct payment is key to realizing the human right to independent living. This excellent evaluation of ÁT Model of direct payment will help the Irish government to fulfill its duties under Article 19 CRPD.” Mairead McGuinness MEP, First Vice-President of the European Parliament, said: “The positive evaluation of the direct payments model should come as no surprise, as giving people control over their lives is central to giving people the chance of a better quality of life. This report is hard evidence that giving disabled people a say in their level of care and support enhances and empowers, the current model of supplying what services we think disabled people should have is less effective in meeting their needs and enhancing their wellbeing. As a model of care, it deserves support and wider implementation.” To read the full report, visit: https://www.nuigalway.ie/centre-disability-law-policy/research/publications/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

A research project led by NUI Galway has established that companion robots can have a positive impact on older people living with dementia. Such is the impact of this research, it has been featured in a new European Commission study analysing the impact on society of EU-funded research and innovation in technology for active and healthy ageing. The MARIO project is among 25 projects credited, and the only one in Ireland, with having had the most influence in Europe over the last 11 years. The project is also being featured across Europe this week on the EuroNews TV channel’s Futuris science programme. Welcoming the listing among the top 25 projects, Professor Dympna Casey from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, and MARIO project coordinator, explained: “Loneliness is a key public health concern across many age groups and especially for older people with dementia. We know that social health and social connectedness are important to the quality of life of people with dementia. Human companionship is the best way of promoting social health but the reality is that our health care services do not have the resources to provide this service. So we devised MARIO to be there for people living with dementia.” To develop the companion robot for people with dementia, NUI Galway put together a consortium of experts from the health care sector, robotics industry and dementia groups. This led to the three year EU Horizon 2020 MARIO project (Managing Active and Healthy Aging with the use of Caring Service Robots), funded by the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The project involved five EU countries and a team of up to 40 people, and has just reached completion.   A key feature of the project was the user-led design in that the robot was developed with and for people with dementia. The result was MARIO, a 4.5 foot white robot with large animated eyes who can be activated by voice or by a touchscreen which he carries. This allows people with dementia to access the newspapers, listen to their favourite songs, provide reminders of upcoming events, store family photos and connect with their friends and families. Pilot testing of the MARIO robot was carried out with people with dementia and caregivers at three sites in Ireland, the UK and Italy for a period of over 12 months. Professor Casey added: “MARIO was an ambitious project from the beginning. We managed to combine an array of expertise through pan-European partnerships. We brought together expertise in robotics, semantic data analytics, artificial intelligence and interactive touchscreen technology, as well as healthcare and nursing knowledge. However, the most critical element were the older people with dementia and their caregivers, who welcomed MARIO into their lives and allowed us, through their insights and knowledge, to make MARIO into the success he has become.” According to a European Commission review of MARIO: “Providing adequate care to the elderly is essential to ensure that Europe’s senior citizens are able to spend their later years living a healthy, happy and independent life. But without support, many face loneliness, a lack of mobility and exercise, and forgetfulness on a daily basis. However, with the use of modern technology and particularly the development of robotic solutions, Europe’s elderly population can feel young again and lead a much safer and richer life.” The European Commission study considered the key achievements from ICT for Health research projects funded under FP7, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) and Horizon 2020. In doing so it provides a useful consolidated insight across the ‘technology for active and healthy ageing’ portfolio. Ageing poses one of the biggest economic and social challenges for this century. It is estimated that by 2025, more than 20% of Europeans will be 65 or over, and by 2060, one in three Europeans will be aged 65 or over. Furthermore, the ratio of working people to the ‘inactive’ others will shift from 4 to 1 today to 2 to 1 by 2060. To read the European Commission study, Top 25 influential ICT for Active and Healthy Ageing projects, logon to: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/top-25-influential-ict-active-and-healthy-ageing-projects To watch MARIO on EuroNews, visit: http://www.euronews.com/2018/04/06/me-and-mario-robots-that-care -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

NUI Galway and The Royal Irish Academy, in association with the Heyman Center, Columbia University, New York, will host a Judging Shaw Day, featuring a roundtable discussion entitled, ‘Shaw, Our Contemporary?’ a keynote lecture by Fintan O’Toole and a Judging Shaw Exhibition, on Monday 16 April at Columbia University. George Bernard Shaw was the most famous Irishman in the world for much of his life – yet, for many, the prodigious nature and quality of his output is forgotten. As well as being a prolific writer and polymath, he was one of the first global celebrities who carefully created and managed his personal brand of ‘GBS’. With his passionate interest in social justice and poverty, in human rights, in public discourse and in entertainment, he was a man with much to say to our times. This event will include discussion with academics, archivists and a publisher who will debate the relevance of Shaw today, on the stage, in the classroom and in print. Speakers at the roundtable discussion: Catriona Crowe (Chair), Member of the Royal Irish Academy Adrian Paterson, Lecturer in English, NUI Galway Ruth Hegarty,Managing Editor, Royal Irish Academy Barry Houlihan, Archivist, NUI Galway Lucy McDiarmid, Professor, Montclair State University Keri Walsh, Associate Professor, Fordham University Keynote Lecture: GBS versus Ireland: Bernard Shaw and Irish Nationalism Fintan O’Toole will explore Shaw’s ambivalent relationship with Ireland and Irish nationalism. George Bernard Shaw described Irish nationalist fervour in 1913 as “a burning fire shut up in the bones, a pain, a protest against shame and defeat, a morbid condition which a healthy man must shake off if he is to keep sane”. The only cure was national independence. Shaw always remained a paradoxical nationalist, arguing simultaneously that Irish freedom would do no good in itself and that it must be gained in order for the Irish to be able to think about other things. Author of a new book, Judging Shaw, Fintan O’Toole is a columnist and literary editor with The Irish Times and a Leonard L. Milberg lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University. He has written books on Irish history, politics, society and culture. He has been awarded the European Press Prize 2017 and the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2017. The lecture will be followed by a reception to launch the Judging Shaw exhibition co-curated by Ruth Hegarty, Barry Houlihan, Fintan O’Toole and Jeff Wilson. This event is part of the Judging Shaw program to mark the publication of Judging Shaw by Fintan O’Toole, published by the Royal Irish Academy. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Shaw continues to intrigue, decades after the end of his long life. He still speaks to us, partly as a figure intent on social justice in his plays and criticism, by turns knowing and naïve, yet fully engaged in a world of contested relationships and political conflict.” Ruth Hegarty, Managing Editor of the Royal Irish Academy, said: “I am delighted to take the Shaw Day Festival to the US. Shaw punctures our tendency towards groupthink and encourages us to be sceptical of our sources. The publication of Judging Shaw allows readers to ‘judge’ Shaw for themselves by reading his own words in letters, manuscripts and plays guided by the author Fintan O’Toole. I look forward to debating Shaw at Columbia.” The event is organised by NUI Galway, the Consulate General of Ireland, New York, the Royal Irish Academy and The Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University. The Judging Shaw event will take place in the Butler Library, Columbia University, New York on Monday, 16 April from 4pm to 7.30pm. The Judging Shaw Exhibition will run at the Heyman Center for the Humanities for the month of April. For more information and to register, visit: http://heymancenter.org/events/judging-shawa-roundtable-and-keynote/ and https://www.ria.ie/research-projects/judging-shaw -Ends-

Monday, 9 April 2018

A €9 million energy sustainability project, known as GenComm, delivered by NUI Galway and ten European partners has launched the first of its White Papers on Smart Hydrogen. Hydrogen (H2) can be used as a renewable energy storage medium and an energy carrier. This allows the reduction of wind and solar intermittency and enables the energy to be used elsewhere as and when required. In transport, hydrogen can reduce emissions and improve air quality at the same time. In heating, hydrogen can be used as a low carbon fuel source replacing fossil fuels. Today however, 95% of all hydrogen is produced from fossil resources. GenComm will produce Smart H2, a renewable and low-emission alternative to fossil fuels, with low impact on natural resources throughout its entire life cycle. Dr Rory Monaghan from the College of Engineering and Informatics and Ryan Institute for Marine, Environmental and Energy Research at NUI Galway, said: “The White Paper aims to inform stakeholders in the energy industry and local communities about the potential for hydrogen to address issues of intermittency, curtailment, profitability and energy security in renewable energy networks. Hydrogen is increasingly viewed as a practical way to store electricity and give it new uses, such as in transportation.” Denis Naughten TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said: “Communities that are resilient in the face of climate change and the insecurities of international energy supply chains are key priorities of EU and national policies. Enabling communities across Europe to store and use their renewable energy resources in innovative and beneficial ways is the objective of GenComm. I welcome this project and the empowering effect it will have on our communities.” NUI Galway will play a key role in the GenComm project, managing a work package that will look at the long term effects of the project. The main output of the project is a hydrogen-based energy model. The research team will adapt this model to create an online tool to support Smart H2 investment decisions, allowing communities to plan and implement their own hydrogen-based energy systems. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “I’d like to congratulate all those involved in the GenComm project. The scope of this project and the size of the award are testament to the strength and innovative nature of the project and the high calibre of partner organisations. Together with our partners, NUI Galway is proud to be involved in leading this research which seeks to deliver hydrogen-based solutions that will help address energy sustainability challenges to communities across North-West Europe. Ultimately this project will bring important benefits to society by enabling cleaner and smarter energy sources, which will protect our planet and support a greener environment.” Paul McCormack, GenComm Programme Manager and Innovation Manager at Belfast Met, added: “The GenComm project will address the energy sustainability challenges of North-West European communities through the implementation of smart hydrogen-based energy matrixes. The use of SMART H2 as an energy carrier can mitigate these challenges by helping match energy demand with renewable energy supply, while enabling flexibility between the mixed uses of renewable energy. The partners in the GenComm project are working to overcome these challenges through the creation of technical and economic models, and an investment decision support tool that can technically and financially optimise the production and commercialisation of SMART H2.” The GenComm project is funded through the Interreg North West Europe Programme. For more information on GENCOMM, visit: http://www.nweurope.eu/projects/project-search/gencomm-generating-energy-secure-communities/ -Ends-

Friday, 6 April 2018

An NUI Galway researcher has received funding for a Collaborative Research Fellowship in Italy for the LINCS (Language Interaction and New Communities in a Multilingual Society) project, which will look at language, the migrant experience, and cultural identity. Due to its geographical position, Italy is centrally involved in addressing the movement of people from their home countries. This difficult, contentious and often emotional process will be at the heart of the research. It will investigate not only the language experience of migrants in Europe such as language learning, translation and interpreting, but also the visibility and invisibility of their experience across cultural and geographical borders. The project will be developed at NUI Galway by Dr Andrea Ciribuco, a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr Anne O’Connor from the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Dr Ciribuco and Dr O’Connor also collaborated on the recent Irish Research Council-funded, New Foundations project entitled, ‘My Story-My Words: Language and Migration’, which looked at the linguistic landscape in Ireland in 2017, using the words of migrants to describe their experiences in a changing and multilingual context. As part of the LINCS project, Dr Ciribuco will spend two of the three years of his fellowship in the field in Italy, working with Italian Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Tamat, which is active since 1995 supporting sustainable development, social enterprise, food security, gender empowerment and global citizenship. The aim of the project is to achieve a better understanding of the links between language, cultural background, and how individuals present themselves in a new culture. This knowledge will be used to inform and promote language practices and policies that will ultimately result in more inclusive societies. Dr Ciribuco will meet with NGOs, institutions, cultural associations and migrant artists, exploring from different perspectives questions such as; how much is a person’s cultural identity shaped by the languages that he or she speaks? How do migrants adapt to communicate their identity in a new country? What is lost in translation? What place does art and literature occupy in intercultural dialogue? In the third and final year of the project, Dr Ciribuco will return to NUI Galway, where the knowledge acquired from his two years of field work in Italy will be used to create collaborations and exchanges of knowledge with Irish organisations. The project will be of particular interest to NGOs, local and European institutions as well as scholars, while creating awareness of the ways in which we can remove linguistic obstacles to communication in a multicultural, multilingual Europe. This is the first time NUI Galway has been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND Collaborative Research Fellowship for a Responsive and Innovative Europe (CAROLINE) with the Irish Research Council.  -Ends-

Friday, 6 April 2018

An NUI Galway study on blockchain has been presented at the Whitaker Ideas Forum workshop on campus entitled, ‘The adoption of Blockchain in Ireland: Examining the influence of organisational factors’. The study investigates the organisational factors that influenced Irish companies in their decisions to adopt blockchain. The study, which was conducted in conjunction with the Blockchain Association of Ireland, investigated the organisational factors that influenced Irish companies in their decisions to adopt blockchain. The emergence of blockchain as a trend in the information technology sector has attracted considerable attention from practitioners, academics, researchers and national development authorities. Blockchain in its simplest form is a shared database system which allows users in a peer-to-peer network to verify and store records. Blockchain represents a new way to access and trust data communicated over the internet. Lead author of the study, Dr Trevor Clohessy at NUI Galway, said: “Instead of keeping data centralised in a traditional ledger, these new digital systems use independent computers, often referred to as ‘nodes’, to record, synchronise and share individual transactions in their respective electronic ledgers. Blockchain is a digital ledger which allows for the brokering of trust on a decentralised peer-to-peer network. Blockchain transactions can include the exchange of data such as personal identification records, and assets such as tokens and digital currency.” The study, which was led by Dr Clohessy and Dr Thomas Acton from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, identified several patterns. It found that top management support and organisational readiness are enablers for blockchain, and that large companies are more likely to adopt blockchain than small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The research explains these findings by examining the nature of blockchain and the characteristics of Ireland as a developed technological country. Organisational readiness will require the availability of: Employees with the requisite blockchain IT knowledge and skills Financial resources within the IT budget for adopting blockchain Infrastructure on which blockchain applications can be built Dr Clohessy added: “We are excited to present the results of a seminal piece of research that we have conducted on blockchain organisational readiness here in Ireland. Blockchain is often portrayed as a black box technology which is mostly associated with cryptocurrencies and financial institutions. However, our research indicates that blockchain is a much more versatile beast that provides adopters with advantages such as anonymity, immutability (transactions that are permanent and cannot be altered), transparency, security and fast transactions. “We expect blockchain will significantly transform the traditional business operations of organisations across a multitude of industries such as health, food, financial and Government sectors in Ireland over the next five years. However, we have also identified a number of barriers which organisations will have to overcome such as the need for them to view blockchain as a separate entity to cryptocurrencies, a lack of technology workers who possess the requisite blockchain skills and competencies, and a lack of university level blockchain courses encompassing a number of core competencies identified in the study.” The J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics is currently exploring various possibilities to address the gap in the lack of university level blockchain courses such as creating executive blockchain workshops. Dr Clohessy has also introduced blockchain as a topic for students within the modules for MSc Business Analytics and MSc Information Systems Management. A more detailed industry report and several academic studies on blockchain are currently in progress. For more information about the Blockchain Association of Ireland, visit: https://www.blockchainireland.org/ -Ends-

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Professor Abhay Pandit and his research team at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, have just published their research into a potential new treatment for lower back pain in the prestigious journal Science Advances. The research team developed a biomaterial-based therapy that can be adapted to an injectable system, which is preferable to surgical intervention. Lower back pain is the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a common reason for lost work days. Over 48% of Europeans and 80% of US citizens experience lower back pain due to degenerative intervertebral discs (IVDs) at some point in their lives, with associated healthcare expenditure estimated at over $100 billion dollars annually in the US and €5.34 billion in Ireland alone. The prevalence of back pain is set to increase substantially in the coming years due to our ageing population. Degeneration of the intervertebral disc results in the compression of the spinal nerves and adjacent vertebrae. Recently, as an alternative to the current conservative treatment or surgical interventions for lower back pain, which are non-regenerative in nature, researchers have started to investigate whether regeneration of the inflamed disc is possible. In the clinic, a substance called hyaluronan (also known as hyaluronic acid) has been shown to facilitate long-term functional improvements by reducing inflammation and pain in a number of clinical conditions, including osteoarthritis surgeries. Hyaluronan is a structural component of tissues in the body, providing strength, lubrication and hydration within the cell’s environment. It also regulates cell movement and behaviour making it an important, active molecule for cell communication. Lead author of the study, Professor Abhay Pandit from CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “The mechanisms by which hyaluronan targets inflammatory pain in disc degeneration had never been assessed. Our research focused on assessing whether a hyaluronan hydrogel has the ability to reduce inflammatory pain and promote disc repair. The results now suggest that it does indeed have a potential therapeutic application for the treatment of back pain associated with disc degeneration.” Implantation of the hyaluronan hydrogel alleviates pain by favourably modulating cellular processes, suggesting promise as a potential therapy in the treatment of back pain. Professor Pandit added: “The hyaluronan formulation we have developed can be adapted to an injectable system which is far preferable to surgical intervention in these cases. We are delighted to see this research being acknowledged in a top journal like Science Advances. Our aim at CÚRAM is to radically improve quality of life for patients suffering from chronic illness and this research takes us a step forward toward to doing just that for sufferers of disc degeneration and lower back pain.” Interest in this technology has already been expressed by CÚRAM’s industry partners and has resulted in further collaborative work in this area. The multidisciplinary research team working on this project included Professor Abhay Pandit, Professor Peter Dockery, Professor David Finn and Dr Michelle Kilcoyne, with researchers Dr Isma Liza Mohd Isa and Dr Sunny Abbah, based at NUI Galway, as well as Dr Daisuke Sakai from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Tokai University School of Medicine in Kanagawa, Japan. To read the full study in Science Advances, visit: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/4/eaaq0597 -Ends-

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Public Lecture by Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc: “Caution: Children at School, Perspectives on Learning, Leaders and Learners, Imperatives for Inclusive Schools.” The College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, New Professors’ Inaugural Lecture series will continue with Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc, the Established Professor of Education and Head of the School of Education. The Public Lecture will be hosted in the Moore Institute on Tuesday, 10 April at 5.30pm. The lecture is designed to be of interest to educators and parents. Professor Mac Ruairc will address elements in our current school system with a view to identifying ways in which schools can become more inclusive, nurturing spaces for all learners irrespective of class, gender, ability, culture, sexuality or the intersectional interconnected nature of these social categorisations. In doing this, Professor Mac Ruairc will outline a number of articles that represent issues or dilemmas within the Irish education system. These articles draw on personal and professional experiences. Some are autobiographical, based on experience as a student, a teacher, a school inspector and more recently a researcher and teacher educator; others are based on media interpretations of aspects of the school system more broadly. The lecture will also focus on exploring ways in which many of the issues identified can be explored differently, and explore ways that change the learning experience of children and young people in school. Explaining how schools can work with diversity and difference and by problematizing the ways in which exclusionary practices succeed in schools, it is possible to identify a number of ways forward. Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean (Research, Reputation and Impact), College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway said: "We are delighted to continue the New Professor's Inaugural Lecture series. The series provides a great opportunity for the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway to introduce to the general public and academics across the University new professorial appointments and to foreground the world-leading innovative research being undertaken in the college. The lectures will run on a monthly basis throughout the calendar year in the Moore Institute and all are welcome to attend." Subsequent speakers in the series will include: Professor Brian McGuire, School of Psychology on Thursday, 3 May Professor Niamh Reilly, School of Political Science & Sociology on Thursday, 21 June An tOllamh Tadhg Ó hIfearnáin,  Roinn na Gaeilge on Thursday, 4 October -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

NUI Galway recently held the Fourth Undergraduate Research Conference which focused on a wide range of research topics including technology, transportation, environment, disability, law, advances in medicine and tourism. The 2018 Undergraduate Research Conference focused on engaging students and staff in a collaborative multidisciplinary research environment promoting vital research skills in presentation and communication. Conference organiser, Lorraine Tansey, Institute for Lifecourse and Society, said: “The multi-disciplinary space is an important opportunity for our students who learn their specific course content in silos. At the conference students are getting a feel for what life will be like as alumni, working, volunteering and being in a world where we need work together from across the subject boundaries to tackle real life problems.” Students from across all disciplines participated and spoke and shared with students. Keynote speaker, Áine Gallagher from ‘Bright Club’ shared how comedy and research can combine to engage non-specialists with a variety of topic areas.  Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway supports undergraduate engagement: “Undergraduate research is the pedagogy for the 21st century – all students should learn through inquiry and research. The ecology of a university depends on a deep and abiding understanding that inquiry, investigation and discovery are at the heart of the university. Research plays a very big role in identifying opportunities and solving problems that our society and planet faces.” Professor Joshi, added: “As a research-led university, undergraduate students are a vital part of the research community and we are delighted to nurture their enthusiasm for research through a variety of student programmes. Students are gaining valuable research skills like communication, presentation, and teamwork as they share in small groups and hear from keynote speakers.”  The conference is funded by the Research Office and ALIVE, NUI Galway’s student volunteering programme and directly run, created and imagined by students. To learn more: www.nuigalway.ie/undergrad-research -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Dochtúireacht Oinigh le bronnadh ar Mhéara Chicago Ag searmanas in OÉ Gaillimh Dé Máirt, an 3 Aibreán, bronnfar Céim Oinigh ar Rahm Emanuel, Méara Chicago agus iarCheann Foirne sa Teach Bán le linn rialtas Obama. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, agus é ag labhairt roimh an searmanas: “Tá cathracha na Gaillimhe agus Chicago nasctha le chéile mar Chomhchathracha le breis is aon bhliain is fiche. Ó shin i leith, tá caidreamh láidir agus dinimiciúil forbartha, a bhfuil buntáistí sóisialta, cultúrtha, oideachasúla agus eacnamaíochta mar thoradh air, rud a léiríonn na naisc phearsanta agus ghairmiúla ar fad idir an dá chathair iontacha seo. Agus onóir á tabhairt againn don Mhéara Emanuel, tugaimid le tuiscint an méid a bhfuil luach againn air mar Ollscoil.  Ní hamháin go n-aithnímid na naisc a cheanglaíonn Gaillimh agus Chicago inár ról mar Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ach dírímid aird chomh maith ar thábhacht na seirbhíse poiblí, ar thábhacht gníomhú go háitiúil le tionchar domhanda, agus tábhacht an daonlathais, an tearmainn agus na saoirse – sa domhan agus don domhan.” Is é Rahm Emanuel an 55ú méara ar Chicago. Chinntigh sé gur glacadh le buiséid ina raibh leasuithe agus infheistíochtaí chun todhchaí airgeadais Chicago a dhaingniú. Rinne sé roinnt leasuithe oideachais a achtú lena n-áirítear fad a chur leis an lá agus leis an mbliain scoile, naíscoil uilíoch lae a chruthú agus chinntigh sé go raibh Chicago ar an gcéad mhórchathair sa tír a chuir oideachas saor in aisce ar fáil i gcoláistí pobail do gach dalta meánscoile a bhaineann B ar an meán, nó os a chionn amach. Faoi stiúir an Mhéara Emanuel, bhí Chicago chun tosaigh ag cur leasuithe eacnamaíochta i bhfeidhm rud a mheall níos mó cuideachtaí agus infheistíocht dhíreach iasachta. Tá athchóiriú infreastruchtúir ar fiú $8 mbilliún ar bun in Chicago faoi láthair chun bóithre, iarnróid agus rúidbhealaí na cathrach a neartú. Sular ceapadh ina Mhéara é, bhí sé ina Cheann Foirne sa Teach Bán le linn rialtas Obama agus chaith sé trí théarma i dTeach na nIonadaithe sna Stáit Aontaithe ag déanamh ionadaíochta ar 5ú Toghcheantar Chicago. Sular toghadh chuig an gComhdháil é, ba bhall tábhachtach é de Theach Bán Clinton ó 1993 go 1998, agus rinneadh comhairleoir sinsearach polasaí agus straitéise don Uachtarán de. Bhain sé céim amach in Sarah Lawrence College sa bhliain 1981 agus bhain sé céim mháistreachta amach san óráidíocht agus cumarsáid ó  Northwestern University. Agus Céim Dhochtúireachta le Dlíthe (honoris causa) bronnta ar an Méara Emanuel beidh sé anois i measc céimithe oinigh eile mór le rá a tháinig roimhe cosúil le Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Cyril Ramaphosa, Enya, Anjelica Huston, agus Margaret Atwood. -Críoch-

Monday, 5 March 2018

Calling all documentary makers, can research cure a broken heart?  CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway and Galway Film Centre are offering funding to filmmakers interested in producing a documentary that engages with research into cardiovascular illnesses and stroke, currently underway at CÚRAM. The ‘Science on Screen’ 2018 Information Day will take place on Friday, 9 March for filmmakers and producers. A range of top researchers and clinicians from NUI Galway will give an overview of their work, followed by a Q&A and opportunities to discuss ideas with the speakers. The ‘Science on Screen’ scheme, a funding strand for creative documentaries set in the world of science, is now in its third year. The scheme will 100% fund one 26 minute film with a budget of €35,000 that promotes the public understanding of science. The scheme forms part of CÚRAM’s public engagement programme which supports the Science Foundation Ireland objective of having the most scientifically informed and engaged public. The schedule for the day will include: 10.45am: Welcome by CÚRAM 11.00am: William Wijns – Professor in Interventional Cardiology, NUI Galway 11.20am: Niamh Hynes – Vascular and Endovascular Surgical Registrar at Galway Clinic 11.40am: Dr Karen Doyle – Lecturer in Physiology and Principal Investigator at CÚRAM 12.00noon: Dr Martin O’ Halloran – Senior Lecturer in Medical Electronics and Director of the Translational Medical Device Lab, NUI Galway 12.20pm: Croí – Fighting Heart Disease and Stroke 12.35pm: Galway Film Centre – Application Guidelines for Science on Screen Science on Screen is a Galway City of Film initiative between Galway Film Centre and CÚRAM. Since 2016, three Science on Screen films have been produced that have achieved success both nationally and internationally. Last October, the Irish Parkinson’s disease Science on Screen documentary, Feats of Modest Valour, won the prestigious Scientist Award at the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York. The 2018 Information Day will take place at the Seminar Room in CÚRAM, SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices, Biomedical Sciences Building, Newcastle Road, NUI Galway on Friday, 9 March from 10.45am to 1.30pm. To register to attend, visit: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/science-on-screen-information-day-tickets-43031026960 To view previous Science on Screen 2016 and 2017 commissions, see: Feats of Modest Valour: https://vimeo.com/184564095 Mending Legends: https://vimeo.com/189779551 Bittersweet: https://vimeo.com/242714712 -Ends-

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, recently addressed the current ageing policies in Europe, which are narrowly focused and overlook the diversity of our ageing populations, at a European policy seminar in Brussels, hosted by the COST-funded research network on Reducing Old Age Social Exclusion in Europe (ROSEnet). The United Nations has said population ageing is set to become one of the most significant social transformations of this century. Globally, the population aged 60 and over is growing faster than all younger age groups. Focusing on different forms of social exclusion related to older age, ROSEnet, an innovative networking partnership of individuals, including researchers, older people and policy stakeholders from 41 countries, involving over 135 members, asked participants at the seminar to consider the ways in which current policy can tackle exclusion in later life across Europe. With an opening address by Ana Carla Pereira, Directorate General of employment, social affairs and inclusion at the European Commission, speakers at the seminar presented new developments in research and policy. These highlighted the steps necessary to improve social and civic participation in later life. The seminar was closed by Marian Harkin, MEP and Vice-Chair of the Intergroup on ‘Active Ageing, Intergenerational Solidarity and Family Policies’. Professor Kieran Walsh, Chair of ROSEnet and Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, highlighted: “With continuing social and economic uncertainty, it is critical that European public policy reflects the needs of a growing, and diverse, older population. Some older people experience exclusion, which can impact on their ability to participate as full members of European societies.” New developments in research and policy were presented at the seminar, highlighting the steps necessary to improve social and civic participation in later life: Policy aimed at reducing social exclusion in later life should take account of the ways in which exclusion affects different parts of people’s lives. There is a need to be cognisant of how different risks factors for exclusion can be associated with different life-course experiences such as transitions into ill health, or poverty, and different socio-economic demographic characteristics. Developing measures that capture why older people experience lower levels of participation and difficulties in accessing resources and services will help to inform the more effective design and implementation of interventions. Efforts to address old-age exclusion are likely to be more impactful if inclusion mechanisms are relevant to older people’s lives and opportunities, and target different forms of exclusion (not just economic dimensions). The characteristics of different contexts need to be considered when designing measurement approaches, setting policy targets and creating policy interventions. Drawing on state-of-the-art research and policy perspectives, the seminar brought together key European stakeholders and researchers, who are at the forefront of policy analysis, innovation and implementation. The seminar demonstrated the benefits for policy of recognising the contributions of older people to European society. ROSEnet (Reducing Old-Age Exclusion in Europe is an innovative networking partnership between policy stakeholders, researchers and older people from 41 countries, involving over 135 members. For more information about ROSEnet, visit: www.rosenetcost.com -Ends-  

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Reforming abortion law and policy is a highly contested process. The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway is hosting an international seminar exploring key debates in the law and politics relating to abortion. As the mooted date for a referendum on Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution draws closer, the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway has drawn together a number of prominent human rights advocates and academics to consider the challenges and possibilities of abortion law in the event of a post-Eighth Amendment Ireland. Professor Siobhán Mullally of NUI Galway, commented: “Abortion law reform and policy is highly contested in Ireland and elsewhere. This international seminar provides an opportunity to reflect on the regulation of abortion and on the litigation, politics and law reform processes taking place in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the US.” Speakers include Professor Carol Sanger from Columbia University, who recently published the book, About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America, and Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Irish Human Rights Commission, who has led strategic litigation on abortion law reform in Northern Ireland. Responses from the Irish law and policy reform perspective will be delivered by Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, focusing on the context of abortion law reform and human rights standards. Professor Eilionóir Flynn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, will address abortion law reform and the rights of people with disabilities. Professor Carol Sanger from the School of Law, Columbia University, commented: “This discussion presents the United States as a case study of how forty years of decriminalisation has not normalised abortion as a reproductive practice. Indeed, the storm around it has become increasingly virulent, especially under the Trump administration.” As Professor Sanger’s book notes, abortion is one of the most private decisions a woman can make, and is also one of the most contentious topics in American civic life. Until recently, stigma and hostility stifled women’s willingness to talk about abortion, and also distorted public and political discussion on abortion law reform. The seminar will take place in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Friday, 9 March from 11am- 2pm. Advance registration is required at: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/about-abortion-the-law-and-politics-of-reform-tickets-43025789294 The event is in association with NUI Galway’s Gender ARC (Advanced Research Consortium on Gender, Culture and the Knowledge Society). -Ends-

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

NUI Galway will host a series of events to celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8 and 9 March. Events are free and open to the public. Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will give a keynote address on ‘Excellence in higher education through gender equality’ a personal and professional reflection Throughout her career Dr Geoghegan-Quinn has broken new ground, exemplified authenticity, and shown confidence and strong purpose in the exercise of power. She has been a leader among women and men, the first Irish female Cabinet minister, and the first Irish woman to serve as an EU Commissioner. Most recently, she chaired the HEA Expert Group who conducted the extensive National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions. The recommendations of the Review are driving further work by universities to address gender equality. Hosted by the University Women’s Network in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building on Thursday, 8 March from 12.30pm-2pm. The LGBT+ and Staff Network will host a talk on ‘Same-sex relationships among Irish-revolutionary women’ Presented by Dr Mary McAuliffe, Professor in Gender Studies, UCD in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance on Friday, 9 March at 4pm. The Centre for Global Women’s Studies will host two events in conjunction with the NUI Galway Feminist Society, in celebration of International Women’s Day on Thursday, 9 March. 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Masters (MA) in Gender, Globalisation and Rights The Anniversary coincides with International Women’s Day and the 100th anniversary for women's suffrage in Ireland. Speakers will include former and current students and staff and will feature a student-produced documentary on the ways in which the MA has helped NUI Galway students to ‘press for progress’ on gender equality issues. The event will also include an open discussion on the future of women’s and gender studies. The event will take place 3pm-5pm, Arás Moyola, Lecture Theatre MY243. Stories of Una: Remembering Una Taaffe on International Women's Day Elaine Mears, a Masters in Human Rights Law graduate from NUI Galway, in conjunction with Galway Feminist Society, will give a talk on well-known Galway business woman and personality, Una Taaffe. The focus of this talk will be on Una as a strong business woman who transgressed gender norms. The continuing matriarchal nature of business in Galway will also be discussed and key Galway business women will be in attendance. The event will take place from 6.30pm-8pm, CA111, Lecture Hall 1, J.E. Cairnes Building. To register to attend the keynote address by Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and the LGBT+ and Staff network talk, visit:  http://www.nuigalway.ie/equalityanddiversity/events/international-womens-week-2018.html To attend the 10th Anniversary celebration and reception prior to the talk on Una Taaffe please email Molly Geoghegan at m.geoghegan7@nuigalway.ie. For more information about the events, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/womens_studies/ and www.storiesofuna.com or www.facebook.com/FeministSocietyNUIG/ and #pressforprogress. -Ends-

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Professor Cathal O’Donoghue: “Recognising Diversity and Complexity in Policy Formation”.  The College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway will be hosting a series of lectures by recently appointed Professors in the University. The Lectures will be hosted in the Moore Institute beginning on Thursday, 8 March at 5pm. Professor O ‘Donoghue’s lecture will draw upon the results of his research career to date to describe the methodologies he has developed and conclusions he has drawn for policy analysis and design and to reach out to new collaborators in inter-disciplinary research. His research aims to understand how policy impacts across the population, incorporating the breadth of diversity that exists in different population groups. His field of research is in the area of Micro-Simulation Modelling, where for 25 years he has developed tools to simulate the impact of public policy on Micro distributions (individuals, Families, Farms). Fundamentally these are tools to understand complexity. Policy formation involves understanding complexity via complexity of policy, complexity of population structure and complexity of behavioural response. Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean (Research, Reputation and Impact), College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway said: "We are delighted to announce the launch of our New Professor's Inaugural Lecture series. The series provides a great opportunity for the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies in NUI Galway to introduce to the general public and academics across the University new professorial appointments and to foreground the world-leading innovative research being undertaken in the college. The lectures will run on a monthly basis throughout the calendar year in the Moore Institute and all are welcome to attend." In addition, other dimensions that can be considered include spatial and temporal complexity. In this lecture, Professor O'Donoghue will discuss how the development of these tools have been used to consider policy questions such as anti-poverty, environmental, labour market, education, agricultural and rural policy. His work is currently focusing on the interaction between land-use change and demographic both in a contemporary setting and in understanding historical land use drivers of demographic changes.  Professor O'Donoghue is the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences at NUI Galway and a Professor of Public and Social Policy. Prior to this he was Head of Teagasc’s (Irelands Agriculture and Food Development Authority) Rural Economy and Development Programme, one of the 4 research programmes of Teagasc. Subsequent speakers in the series will include: Professor Gerry MacRuairc, School of Education on Thursday, 5 April Professor Brian McGuire, School of Psychology on Thursday, 3 May Professor Niamh Reilly, School of Political Science & Sociology on Thursday, 21 June All lectures will be hosted in the Moore Institute (GO10) from 5-7pm and all are welcome. If you are unable to attend the lecture here is the link to Webstream: http://bit.ly/2trS1DJ   -Ends- 

Thursday, 8 March 2018

A consortium of researchers and health service providers, led by Professor Gary Donohoe from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, has received €1.5 million in funding from the Health Research Board for a new collaborative doctoral program focused on understanding and responding to the mental health needs of young people under the age of 25. Mental health difficulties (including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia) account for approximately half of all causes of disability in individuals under the age of 25 in Ireland and around the world. Commenting on the funding award, Professor Gary Donohoe from NUI Galway, said: “Despite the fact that difficulties with mental health usually begin between the ages of 15 and 25, and early treatment reduces later risk, people aged 12-25 years have the poorest access to treatment of all age groups. “With this funding, the YOULEAD consortium will address some of the main reasons for this, including an insufficient understanding of youth mental health, difficulties with early recognition of symptoms, a lack of strategic organisation and delivery of health services, and high levels of stigma. The YOULEAD programme will address these issues by establishing an interdisciplinary cross-university PhD training program to equip researchers to better understand youth mental health difficulties and barriers to treatment, and to build an evidence base for treatment.” The consortium will seek to form a new national youth mental health research network, representing key stakeholders in youth mental health, including individuals and families with lived experience of mental health difficulties, national health services, and national/governmental policy makers. This network will provide a much-needed platform for knowledge exchange and dissemination that will help to shape future service delivery, and national youth mental health policy. The YOULEAD consortium consists of leading youth mental health researchers from NUI Galway (Professor Gary Donohoe, Dr Caroline Heary, Dr Padraig MacNeela), UCD (Professor Barbara Dooley, Professor Eilis Hennessey), and RCSI (Professor Mary Cannon, Professor David Cotter), and Ireland’s two main youth mental health service providers, the HSE, and JIGSAW (Dr Aileen O’Reilly). -Ends-

Friday, 9 March 2018

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre in Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway, will partner with five other European institutions to develop new advanced therapies and technologies in skin regeneration for the treatment of burns and chronic wounds. The €4 million NanoGrowSkin project will involve a multidisciplinary healthcare approach to develop an improved chronic wound therapy. The goal of this project is to develop a bioengineered human skin substitute, improving the manufacturing process, shortening the production time, and enhancing its treatment effectiveness. Director of CÚRAM, Professor Abhay Pandit, who will lead the research project from NUI Galway, said: “The skin is the main protective barrier the body has against any external attack. Any skin disease or injury needs to be treated immediately. The most common conditions are wounds, pressure ulcers and burns, and current treatments based on the use of skin grafts, or even on implanting skin originating from a donor, are associated with several problems. In this project we will be investigating the development of a bioengineered human skin substitute that would be a suitable option for treating patients.” Until now, different types of artificial skin covers have been designed, although none of them has successfully reproduced the accurate structure and functions of the native human skin. Moreover, they can also present some disadvantages, such as a high bacterial infection risk, low biological activity and low regenerative effectiveness. “We aim to overcome the two major drawbacks of severe skin wounds, the urgent need of an effective skin implant in life-threatening situations and to avoid/counteract usual bacterial infections”, added Professor Pandit. The international research team will take advantage of their combined expertise on tissue engineering, to manufacture an autologous (from the patient’s own body) skin substitute comprised of materials whose safety and efficacy have already been proven in humans. The first milestone of the NanoGrowSkin project will be the optimisation of human artificial skin models by using pharmaceutical quality products and the implementation of novel methods, such as nanomedicine technologies. Nanotechnology is technology that works at the nano scale (one nanometer is one billionth of a metre). Nanomedicine is utilising nanotechnology for medical purposes. This will allow the development of biomaterials with improved and suitable biomechanical and antimicrobial properties for use in patients with burns and chronic wounds. The second aim of NanoGrowSkin will be to adapt the production of these new tools towards an optimal regulatory framework, including Good Manufacturing Practice regulation and European Medicines Agency guidelines. Finally, the project will include the development of a market access approach in order to estimate the benefits of this treatment for the entire society. The envisaged model will include the calculation of cost per patient as well as potential cost-savings and/or cost-effective measures for the affordable introduction of the tissue-engineered treatment. The project team, led by Professor Miguel Alaminos, Health Research Institute in Granada and the University of Granada, Spain, with partners from the Italian Biochemical Institute, the University of Bordeaux and the University of Technology of Compiègne in France, CÚRAM at NUI Galway and the company OSI Health XXI in Spain. -Ends-

Monday, 12 March 2018

A diabetes research team at NUI Galway’s School of Medicine are looking at ways to improve how diabetes services are delivered to young adults in Ireland. The D1 Now research team, led by Professor Seán Dinneen, has focused on involving young adults at the centre of the research, in order to improve diabetes services by creating flexible young adult-centred clinics. The D1 Now team propose to improve the delivery of diabetes services by using interactive online tools, key staff members dedicated to young adults, and tools to ensure the young adults agenda is heard within the traditional clinic. D1 Now are currently looking to recruit members for a Dublin-based Young Adult Panel (YAP) to broaden the group of people who are involved to directly contribute to the research. The research team and current Young Adult Panel members from Galway will be present to discuss what is involved for potential members and a questions and answers session to share the experience of being a Young Adult Panel member. Research indicates that this particular age group of young adults, aged 18 to 25, with type 1 diabetes often disengage from health services and their general diabetes management. However, young adults do not usually get the chance to make suggestions on how to improve diabetes services or provide feedback on how the service could work best for them. The Young Adult Panel’s involvement has led to a better understanding of what needs to be achieved in order to improve health service delivery in terms of responding to the specific needs of young adults at this transitional time in their lives. The Dublin-based Youth Adult Panel is the next step for the D1 Now programme and spreading the importance of young adult involvement across Ireland. The information evening will take place on Wednesday, 14 March at 6pm in Grantham House, Grantham Street, Dublin 8. The study was funded through a Health Research Board, Definitive Interventions and Feasibility Awards grant. For more information about D1 Now, visit: www.d1now.ie follow on Twitter @d1nowie and on Facebook at D1 Now. -Ends-

Monday, 12 March 2018

Entrepreneurs working with the Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway will benefit from a new partnership between the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and TechStars, a global start-up accelerator and entrepreneurial network. The new effort was announced March 7 at SXSW EDU in Austin, Texas, USA. . The announcement comes as Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway celebrates its second year on campus at NUI Galway. As one of just 20 Blackstone LaunchPad sites across the globe, Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway boasts an entrepreneurial student community that has over 5,000 members.   It has provided over 1,800 coaching sessions since launching and holds 3-4 events each week across campus supporting entrepreneurship. The programme helps students, staff and alumni explore entrepreneurship as a viable career path. The programme is funded in partnership between the Galway University Foundation and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Director of Innovation at NUI Galway, David Murphy said: “NUI Galway is ranked as one of the top 250 universities in the world so we must constantly innovate to ensure we deliver a world-class education and experience for our students. The TechStars partnership with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation will provide our entrepreneurs with very valuable access to international expertise, mentors and supports.” Natalie Walsh, Executive Director, Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, commented: “The announcement this week by Blackstone LaunchPad and TechStars will give NUI Galway staff, students and alumni access to world-class resources and expertise. This is a tremendous opportunity to set NUI Galway apart from other universities across the globe. We are confident that the partnership will complement our fantastic entrepreneurial eco-system on campus and further enhances our position as a place where entrepreneurship and innovation happen.” This year the NUI Galway programme will run its first student accelerator summer programme, in addition it will run a female only InnovatHER programme showcasing some of the Ireland’s leading female entrepreneurs. While in April 2018 a med-tech competition for students focussing on solving unmet clinical needs will take place. Blackstone LaunchPad is one of a portfolio of innovative programme supported by the Galway University Foundation at NUI Galway other programmes include, BioInnovate, BioExel, EXPLORE, and TechInnovate. The future of entrepreneurship at NUI Galway looks bright and promising.  ENDS

Monday, 12 March 2018

Civic and Religious Leaders attended the recent Seas Suas Awards Ceremony at NUI Galway. The Award Ceremony celebrated the successful completion of the Seas Suas training programme undertaken by 250 students. Seas Suas is NUI Galway’s innovative student-to-student mentoring programme and is an initiative between the University’s Student Services and Students’ Union and facilitated by the Chaplaincy team at NUI Galway. Students from a range of academic disciplines in NUI Galway undertake training sessions on topics such as developing positive mental health, alcohol, online wellbeing and suicide prevention. Training includes gaining knowledge about the challenging issues of student life and the corresponding supports; developing strategies for effective helping, and learning skills to intervene safely or refer appropriately.  Dr Pat Morgan, Vice President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway said: “It is so encouraging to see how many of our NUI Galway students are motivated and engaged in promoting health and wellbeing. This has significant benefits for themselves and for others particularly during these formative years in University.” Following successful completion of the Seas Suas programme, participants are encouraged to put the aims of Seas Suas into action in a variety of ways. Participants contribute to a number of specific events such as Mental Health Week, the Green Ribbon Campaign, help with the Exam Support Team and assisting with Student Orientation. The Seas Suas programme has successfully developed sustainable partnerships between students, staff and external agencies. Seas Suas is deepening our awareness about how to live happier and healthier lives so that we can continue to be a compassionate, caring and successful community. John Hannon, Director of Student Services at NUI Galway, congratulated the students for successfully completing the Seas Suas training programme and highlighted the benefits for the students in terms of the academic achievement and their personal development.      For more information on the Seas Suas programme contact Fr Ben Hughes, NUI Galway’s Chaplaincy Services at chaplains@nuigalway.ie or 091 49 5055. -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The trial of Ratko Mladić – An Insider’s View The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway will host a public seminar on the prosecution of Ratko Mladić on Wednesday, 14 March at 1pm. The lecture will be given by Jonas Nilsson, who was the Senior Legal Officer advising the Trial Chamber in the case against Ratko Mladić before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). On 22 November 2017, Ratko Mladić was convicted by the Yugoslav Tribunal of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The judgment marked the end not only of the proceedings in this case but also of the work of the ICTY. The establishment of the ICTY almost 25 years earlier had come to mark the beginning of a new era for international criminal law and its work triggered the creation of new institutions, in particular the International Criminal Court. As one of the biggest war crimes trials in history, the trial against Ratko Mladić presented numerous challenges and lessons that are relevant for all other present and future international courts and tribunals. As a Senior Legal Officer advising the Trial Chamber of the Yugoslav Tribunal, Jonas Nilsson is in a unique position to provide an insider's perspective of the trial of Ratko Mladić and the challenges and lessons for international criminal justice. Nilsson worked at the ICTY between 2005 and 2017, having previously worked with Amnesty International, the Swedish Helsinki Committee and the Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo. Dr Shane Darcy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “The visit of Jonas Nilsson is an excellent opportunity to learn more about one of the most important trials of the 21st century. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has made a significant contribution to international law and international affairs in the face of various legal, political and practical challenges.” The seminar is taking place on Wednesday 14 March at 1pm in the Seminar Room of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. -Ends- 

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

NUI Galway today announced the full programme of events for its next CAO Open Day on Saturday, 24 March from 9am to 3pm. The Open Day is an excellent opportunity for schools, students, parents and families to explore the opportunity to study at NUI Galway. There is a packed programme of events, sample lectures and masterclasses lined up for the day, including: Over 80 stands providing information on courses, CAO points, employability, career progression routes, accommodation and fees. Sample subject talks designed to give students a real insight into studying at NUI Galway. Hands-on science workshops. Interactive sessions in Engineering, IT systems and robotics. Talk highlights for students include Sports at NUI Galway, Career Opportunities and Inspiring Women in Engineering. For parents, a range of special talks focusing on topics such as SUSI Grants, Scholarship Applications and Student Life are also scheduled. Tours of the NUI Galway campus will run throughout the day, including tours as Gaeilge. Parents are invited to attend the dedicated Parent’s Talk running at 11am and repeated again at 1pm. This is a chance for parents to experience the full range of Support Services on offer at the University and to be reassured that their sons and daughters will be fully supported during their time at NUI Galway. Visitors will learn first-hand from lecturers about the learning experience at NUI Galway, the skills development and career prospects for each of the degree programmes. Talking about the value of an Open Day for both parents and students, John Hannon, Director of Student Services at NUI Galway said: “Open Days are the opportunity for parents to see ‘under the hood’ of a university, to explore all that is on offer, but also to interrogate, to ask questions and to really see if NUI Galway is the right fit for their son or daughter. NUI Galway has achieved tremendous progress in rankings and has been awarded The Sunday Times University of the year for 2018 is testament to the dedication NUI Galway’s staff has to providing the best possible education and student experience.” To get the most out of your day visitors are encouraged to view the timetable of talks at www.nuigalway.ie/opendays.   -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Máirtín Ó Direáin: Fathach File / Reluctant Modernist Exhibition runs in the University’s Hardiman Building NUI Galway is delighted to present a special exhibition on iconic Irish language poet, Máirtín Ó Direáin, thirty years after his death in March 1988. The exhibition was curated by Síobhra Aiken, a PhD researcher in the Centre for Irish Studies, and it draws on University, State and private archives, with many materials on public display for the first time. ‘Máirtín Ó Direáin – Fathach File / Reluctant Modernist’ was launched in the Hardiman Building by NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh. It is a highlight of the University’s celebration of Seachtain na Gaeilge 2018. According to curator, Síobhra Aiken: “While Ó Direáin is considered to be the ‘father of modern Irish poetry’, his legacy has arguably been overlooked and his life story has never been written. I hope that the exhibition will provide new biographical information, which enlightens our understanding of Ó Direáin work and will encourage further academic research on his life and his poetry. The exhibition draws on a range of archival and private material, as well as resources and art collections from within the University and beyond to give a fascinating insight into this iconic literary figure.” The exhibition offers new information on aspects of Ó Direáin’s life, such as the respect he earned as a young actor in An Taibhdhearc theatre, the steps he took to promote the rights of post office workers, and his position as President of Cumann na Scríbhneoirí (The Writers’ Association) in Dublin. Members of the extended Ó Direáin family were present at the launch and gave personal insights into the poet’s life and inspirations. Máirtín Ó Direáin’s only daughter, Niamh Sheridan, spoke at the launch, and was joined by her partner Don, daughter Gráinne McCann and grandson Shane. Also present at the launch were the Mná Fiontracha group from Árainn, who helped source material for the exhibition, and Peadar Mac Mághnais, who has donated art and manuscripts connected to Ó Direáin to the University in recent years. The free exhibition will run in the Hardiman Building on campus from March-July 2018. Máirtín Ó Direáin’s poetry has been a core part of the Irish language Leaving Certificate syllabus, and the exhibition will be of particular relevance to fifth and sixth year secondary school students seeking to gain further insight into his poetry. Find out more about the exhibition at: www.nuigalway.ie/odireain   -Ends- 

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Tá Taispeántas Máirtín Ó Direáin: Fathach File / Reluctant Modernist ar siúl in Áras Uí Argadáin san Ollscoil Tá an-áthas ar OÉ Gaillimh taispeántas speisialta faoin bhfile Máirtín Ó Direáin a sheoladh, tríocha bliain i ndiaidh a bháis i Márta 1988. Ba í Síobhra Aiken, taighdeoir PhD in Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, a chuir an taispeántas le chéile, agus baineann sé úsáid as cartlanna Ollscoile, Stáit agus príobháideacha – cuid mhaith ábhar nach raibh ar taispeáint poiblí go dtí seo ina measc. Ba é Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh a sheol ‘Máirtín Ó Direáin – Fathach File / Reluctant Modernist’ in Áras Uí Argadáin ar an gcampas. Is buaicphointe é de cheiliúradh na hOllscoile ar Sheachtain na Gaeilge 2018. Dar leis an gcoimeádaí, Síobhra Aiken: “Ce go n-áirítear fós é mar ‘athair na nuafhilíochta Gaeilge’, d’fhéadfaí a rá go bhfuil neamhaird tugtha don Direánach le tamall beag de bhlianta anuas agus níor scríobhadh a bheathaisnéis riamh.” Tá súil agam go gcuirfidh an taispeántas eolas nua beathaisnéise ar fáil, rud a thabharfaidh tuiscint níos fearr ar a shaothair agus a spreagfaidh breis taighde ar shaol Ó Direáin agus a chuid filíochta. Tá réimse leathan d’ábhar cartlainne agus príobháideach sa taispeántas, chomh maith le foinsí agus bailiúcháin ealaíne san Ollscoil agus lasmuigh dó, a thugann léargas suntasach ar an bhfile íocónach seo. Cuireann an taispeántas neart eolais nua ar fáil ar ghnéithe éagsúla de shaol Uí Dhireáin, ina measc siúd, an meas a bhí air mar aisteoir óg sa Taibhdhearc, na céimeanna a thóg sé le cearta lucht oibre oifig an phoist a chur chun cinn agus an ról a bhí aige mar Uachtarán ar Chumann na Scríbhneoirí i mBaile Átha Cliath. Bhí gaolta leis an Diréanach i láthair ag an seoladh agus thug siad léargas pearsanta ar shaol agus spreagadh an fhile. Labhair iníon leis an bhfile, Niamh Sheridan, ag an seoladh, agus bhí a páirtnéir Don, a hiníon Gráinne McCann agus a garmhac Shane ina cuideachta. Bhí baill den ghrúpa Mná Fiontracha as Árainn i láthair ag an seoladh, a chabhraigh leis an taispeántas a ullmhú, chomh maith le Peadar Mac Mághnais, a thug roinnt ealaíne agus lámhscríbhinní a bhaineann leis an Direánach don Ollscoil le blianta beaga anuas. Tá an taispeántas saor in aisce agus beidh sé ar siúl in Áras Uí Argadáin ar an gcampas ó Mhárta-Iúil 2018. Tá dánta an Direánaigh ar shiollabas na hArdteiste agus beidh an-suim ag daltaí meánscoile sa chúigiú agus sa séú bliain sa taispeántas ach go háirithe. Tá tuilleadh eolais faoin taispeántas ar fáil ag: www.nuigalway.ie/odireain   -Críoch-

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The MA in Writing at NUI Galway and Onslaught Press invite you to celebrate the launch of ‘Flower Press’ poetry collection by Alicia Kinsella on Thursday, 15 March at 6.30pm at the University. Alice was born in Dublin and raised in Claremorris, Co. Mayo, and is currently studying poetry and fiction in the MA in Writing at NUI Galway. This short collection of poems can be described as an elegiac apostrophe. In three sections; Bud, Bloom, and Blood, it explores the growth of love in childhood, the loss of innocence, and the fallout of that loss. Dr John Kenny, Director of the MA in Writing at NUI Galway, said:  “It is a rare occurrence indeed that a student still only halfway through the MA stage would have a range of poetic work of sufficient accomplishment as to be so eminently worthy of a first collection. Alice Kinsella is an impressive devotee of the art of poetry -Flower Press promises to be a real joy in itself for all readers and a major inspiration for other students keen to get their work successfully out into the world.” While these poems take place in the world of pretence: childhood fantasies, imaginings fuelled by mythology, and the unreliable narrative of the human memory, it is the physical details, the lingering on physical sensations, smells, tastes, and personal totems, that gives the poems the life that allows them to explore the emotional, psychological, and moral questions that they raise. However, Flower Press does not claim to offer answers, but the consolation of the act of remembering. Sinéad Gleeson, Writer, Editor, Freelance Broadcaster and Journalist describes Flower Press as “Intimate, lyrical and full of pathos. Alice Kinsella brings an otherworldly quality to the quotidian, in work that is unsettling and transformative. Flower Press is a debut of rare beauty, revealing multiple epiphanies and the power of the poet’s wielded pen.” Alice, Author of Flower Press said: “I'm honoured to have Flower Press launched by the MA in Writing programme. This wouldn't be possible without the generosity and kindness of John Kenny and my classmates. The MA provides a wonderful home for emerging writers in Galway, I'm so lucky to be among them.” The launch will take place in the Moore Institute, Hardiman Research Building, Room G010, NUI Galway. Refreshments will be served on the night and all welcome. For more information visit:  http://aliceekinsella.com/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Two senior academics from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, have been awarded €1.1 million by Science Foundation Ireland’s Science Policy Research Programme, facilitating doctoral degrees that will generate important new policy insights that can help to bolster Ireland’s knowledge economy. Professor John McHale, Dean of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and Dr Alma McCarthy, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Discipline of Management, have been awarded grants, aimed at aligning the policies behind Irish science with current best practices. The funds awarded through the research scheme will support research positions for both postdoctoral researchers and PhD students for a period of up to four years. Professor John McHale’s project titled ‘The Impact of International Star Scientists on Irish Science’ was awarded €856,000. The research will explore how the arrival of a star researcher (high profile and renowned for their research) affects institutional performance in terms of inspiring incumbent scientists and the quality of subsequent research recruits. Professor McHale notes that the recruitment of a star researcher can have far-reaching impacts on an organisation and on regional innovation clusters. At a time of heightened interest in scientist mobility due to Brexit, this project aims to evaluate the effect of star recruitment policies on the performance of Irish science and the broader national innovation system. Dr Alma McCarthy’s research project titled ‘Achieving Scientific Excellence and Impact in Ireland: The Role of Talent and Human Capital Management in National Science Foundations’ was awarded €255,000. Dr McCarthy’s project will research, develop and evaluate a talent management model for Science Foundation Ireland, drawing on best practice from four international science foundations globally. These organisations tend to differ from typical public sector organisations as they are characterised by high turnover, contract employment, and highly skilled staff. Therefore, these organisations merit particular research attention in order to better understand specific organisational and contextual factors impacting talent management. The human capital of these leading science funding agencies allows them to impact their nation’s economic and social development effectively and efficiently. Dr McCarthy’s project will employ a cross-national research design across five small advanced and larger economies to set forth a guide for best international practice. The project will also assist Science Foundation Ireland in meeting its Agenda 2020 objectives through effective talent management.   Speaking about the grant in the context of her research project, Dr Alma McCarthy from NUI Galway, said: “The availability and development of talent and human capital is a key strategic Human Resource issue facing most knowledge-intensive organisations in developed economies such as Ireland. This research grant will enable us to examine how Science Foundation Ireland can attract, manage and develop talent and human capital to positively impact Ireland’s research capacity, infrastructure and impact.” Commenting on the awards, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland added: “These awards will build critical knowledge to enable us to develop effective policies on how we fund, evaluate and disseminate scientific research. Building Ireland’s research capacity in science policy will help to solidify Ireland’s position in developing international best practice and encourage collaborations with international experts in the field.” -Ends-