Thursday, 18 April 2013

Speakers from across Britain and Ireland will attend a symposium on Friday, 19 April (tomorrow) at the University of Ulster to debate the legacy of the Good Friday Agreement / Belfast Agreement in a special symposium marking the fifteenth anniversary of the historic peace accord. The event, organised in collaboration with NUI Galway and the Political Studies Association of Ireland, will bring together some of the academics who played crucial roles as special advisors and negotiators to reflect on the negotiations that produced the Agreement, including: Professor Lord Bew (Advisor to David Trimble); Professor Monica McWilliams (Founding member of the Women’s Coalition); and Dr Martin Mansergh (Advisor to the Irish Government). Dr Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Director of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences at University of Ulster and one of the organisers of the event, said: “The key aim of the conference is to generate discussion and provide an opportunity for an exchange and it will incorporate the views of established academics and new researchers.” Co-organiser Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh of NUI Galway, said: “The Agreement reorganised political structures within Northern Ireland but it also reordered relationships between the two jurisdictions in Ireland and between Ireland and Britain and was shaped by significant European and international involvement. The symposium pays particular attention to these multiple and interrelated contexts for political change.” Speakers will debate a number of issues at the event such as The changing political dynamics that set the scene for the talks process, including international influences (Professor Adrian Guelke, Queen’s University Belfast and Professor Etain Tannum, Trinity College Dublin ) and changing relationships on the island of Ireland (Professor John Coakley and Professor Jennifer Todd, University College Dublin); The implementation of the Agreement, including migrant experiences (Patrick Wu, Northern Ireland Centre for Ethnic Minorities) and the impact on the peace process by cultural change (Dr Eamonn Hughes, Queen’s University), on loyalists (Professor Jim McAuley, Huddersfield) and on dissident republicans (Professor Jonathan Tonge, Liverpool University); The unresolved past, including the possibilities for truth recovery (Professor Kieran McEvoy, Queen’s University Belfast, Professor Henry Patterson, University of Ulster) and the continuing force of historical memory (Dr Brian Feeney, St Mary’s College Belfast and Dr Ian McBride, Kings College London). The all-day symposium, which will take place at the University’s Belfast Campus, is a joint event of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences (IRiSS) at the University of Ulster, the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway and the Peace and Conflict specialist group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland. ENDS

Friday, 19 April 2013

D’éirigh le mic léinn Aonad na Cumarsáide, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge , OÉ Gaillimh, trí dhuais a bhaint amach ag na gradaim S-MEDIA a bhí ar siúl i mBaile Átha Cliath ar an 17 Aibreán. Reáchtáiltear na gradaim S-MEDIA, atá dírithe ar mhic léinn sna hinstitiúidí tríú leibhéal ar fud na tíre, faoi choimirce .    Bhuaigh an clár Y.O.L.O. Dara Seans, a léirigh mic léinn an B.A. sa Chumarsáid, gradam don Léiriúchán Teilifíse is Fearr (in aon teanga).  Is clár faisnéise é seo faoi na dúshláin atá le sárú ag fear óg as Conamara, Micilín Ó Féinne,  tar éis droch thimpiste bhóthair a d’fhág gan lúth na ngéag é. Rinneadh taifead ar Y.O.L.O. Dara Seans i nGaeltacht Chonamara ag deireadh na bliana seo caite;  is é Aodhán Ó Maoileoin a scríobh an script agus a bhí i bhfeighil ar an stiúradh; bhí Mairéad Ní Chonghaile , Cian Ó Lorcáin agus Colleen Ní Bhaistir ar an bhfoireann léiriúcháin.  Tá na mic léinn seo sa bhliain dheireanach den B.A. sa Chumarsáid atá lonnaithe ar an gCeathrú Rua. Bhuaigh an clár dar teideal “ An Galar Dubhach” le Kirsty an Chnoic, mac léinn tríú bliana, an duais Iriseoireacht Raidió. Sa chlár seo rinne cairde léi cur síos ar an ngalar dubhach agus ar an gcaoi a ndeachaigh an galar i gcion orthu féin. Rinne  Kirsty an clár seo mar chuid den obair scrúdaithe sa mhodúl Craoltóireacht Raidió. D’eirigh le Daithí Ó Cinnéide ón B.A. sa Chumarsáid, gradam don Léiriúchán Teilifíse is Fearr i nGaeilge (Faisnéís agus Drámaíocht) a bhaint amach don ghearrscannán Scáth Daoine.  Tugann an scannán seo léargas ar an aonaracht agus coimhthíos a thagann ar fhear meán aosta agus é ag machnamh faoi na deiseanna a chaill sé agus é ina fhear óg.  Rinneadh taifead ar Scáth Daoine anuraidh ar an gCeathrú Rua. Go dtí seo tá mic léinn Aonad na Cumarsáide, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge,  tar éis an gradam don Léiriúchán Teilifíse is Fearr a bhaint amach i 2008 agus i 2009 agus tar éis an gradam don Léiriúchán Teilifíse i nGaeilge is Fearr a bhuachan i 2008, 2009, 2010, agus 2011. Críoch _______________________ NUI Galway Students win in three major categories at SMEDIA Awards Students of the Irish Language Communications Unit of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge at NUI Galway based in Carraroe, Co. Galway, took home three major awards from the SMEDIAs, that were held in The Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin on the 17th of April. The SMEDIA Awards are targeted at third level students from institutions all around the country and is organised each year by The Irish language programme “Y.O.L.O Dara Seans” (2nd Chance) won the award for best TV Production and was produced by a BA in Communications student. It is an Irish language (with English subtitles) documentary programme about the struggles of a young man from Conamara, Micilín Ó Féinne, following a road accident that left him paralysed. The programme was produced last year in the Conamara Gaeltacht; Aodhán Ó Maoileoin both wrote and directed the script; Mairéad Ní Chonghaile, Cian Ó Lorcáin and Colleen Ní Bhaistir formed the production team. These students are currently completing their final year of their BA in Communications degree in Carraroe, Co. Galway. “An Galar Dubhach” (Depression) a radio programme by Kirsty An Chnoic won the award for best Iriseoireacht trí Ghaeilge (Raidió) (Irish radio journalism). It sensitively approaches the issue of depression amongst her friends and how it affected them, and contains beautifully crafted sections where music moves the listener to empathise. Kirsty, a native of Tralee, produced the programme as part of her course work for the Radio Broadcasting module. Daithí Ó Cinnéide, another BA in Communications student from Dublin, received the award for Léiriúchán Teilifíse is Fearr i nGaeilge (Faisnéis agus Drámaíocht) (Best TV Production in Irish (Documentary and Drama) for his short film “Scáth Daoine”. It depicts the loneliness and alienation of a middle aged man as he ponders on the oportunities he missed out on in his youth. “Scáth Daoine” was produced in Carraroe last year while Daithí attended the BA in Communications, a course that draws from the Irish language media belt in its surroundings in the Conamara Gaeltacht.   ENDS

Monday, 22 April 2013

A new book examining how countries have transitioned from socialism to capitalism has been co-edited by Dr Gerard Turley, a lecturer in economics at NUI Galway. Dr Turley has just completed The Handbook of the Economics and Political Economy of Transition with co-editor Professor Paul Hare of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. The volume looks at the economics of transition, analysing countries such as China and Czech Republic, as they moved from socialism and the command economy to capitalism and the market economy. The Handbook of the Economics and Political Economy of Transition takes in over 30 transition countries, from the former socialist countries of the USSR and the satellite states of Central and Eastern Europe, to the Asian countries of China, Vietnam and others. Dr Gerard Turley, a member of the Whitaker Institute and the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway said: “Given the current interest in countries like China, Russia, the Eastern European EU accession countries and those former socialist countries that have either joined the eurozone or have turned to the IMF for financial support, this is a timely publication for all those interested in how these countries have fared since the collapse of the Berlin Wall almost twenty five years ago.”  The editors commissioned a team of leading experts from around the world, not just from the former socialist countries of China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Slovenia but also academics in Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Italy, UK, US and Ireland. Contributors included former Deputy Prime Ministers and Finance Ministers, special advisors to Prime Ministers, policy advisors to governments and international organisations (such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and chief international negotiators (with, for example, the European Commission and the World Trade Organisation).   Topics include the socialist system and central planning, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the re-emergence of China, economic reforms and institutions, enterprise restructuring and privatisation, performance and growth, trade and integration, the 2008/09 financial crisis, and people and transition. The Handbook of the Economics and Political Economy of Transition will be published next month in the UK and the US by Routledge. -ENDS-

Monday, 22 April 2013

‘Rails Girls’, a worldwide movement that aims to bridge the gender divide in technology and teach women how to code, is coming to Galway. The free weekend workshop will let females of all ages in the world of building web applications and software services. Funded by NUI Galway’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) Outreach Programme, ‘Rails Girls will take place from 17-18 May at DERI, located in the Dangan IDA Business Park. The organisers comprise mainly of young female IT researchers involved in local third-level colleges, businesses, schools and volunteer digital makers’ clubs such as CoderDojo and 091Labs. The workshop will use 'Ruby on Rails', a powerful web application framework for the Ruby programming language, and is open to all enthusiastic girls and women. No prior knowledge of programming is required and is suitable for absolute beginners to computer coding. Myriam Leggieri, DERI researcher at NUI Galway and one of the chief organisers, said: “The country desperately needs a generation of young coders of both sexes to help lay the foundations of a ‘Knowledge Economy’ and create the jobs for a sustainable future. But there is, in particular, a dire shortage of female IT developers in Ireland and across the world as well as in the professions of science, technology, engineering and maths professions generally. There is no reason why this should be the case except for lack of exposure to such environments. Events such as 'Rails Girls' directly address this issue and empower girls to take the first step in learning these in-demand skills and acquiring the tools to conquer one of the last great frontiers of science, namely the World Wide Web.” The first event, launched by Linda Liukas and Karri Saarinen, was held in Helsinki in 2010 and is a worldwide phenomena. Further information and application forms are available at The closing date for applications is Tuesday, 30 April. There are a limited amount of places available so early registration is recommended. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Niamh Duffy, an MSc in Clinical Research student at NUI Galway from Dublin, has scooped the top prize of €10,000 at the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards. Her winning project StudySmart is a study software application for secondary school students, which acts as a time management and motivational tool. The creator of StudySmart was presented with her prize by local entrepreneurs Pádraig O’Céidigh and Judy Greene together with NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne and NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Paul Curley. The StudySmart application will enable students to study in a more efficient, scientific manner and improve their grades. Judges were very impressed with StudySmart and its potential to motivate and encourage secondary school students in their studies. The competition which is the initiative of the NUI Galway Students’ Union is supported by NUI Galway and seeks to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst students. In its three years, the competition has attracted entries from students studying a variety of subjects. The Two runner-up prizes of €5,000 were awarded to Tim Groome for GaelicLinks, a networking website for all people involved in GAA and Jenny Groarke for Sing Bang Music Workshops which aims to provide inclusive, supportive and fun music workshops for older adults. Pádraig O’Céidigh, who attended the award ceremony, said: “The drive, determination and enthusiasm of the students is fantastic. It is heartening to see that within NUI Galway the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. I would also like to congratulate the University and the Students’ Union for their vision in fostering the talents of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.” NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Paul Curley, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries to the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards. The entrants are testament to the exceptional initiative and creativity of students in social and business enterprise. They show that students are both able and willing to create the big ideas that will help fuel our recovery. The Students’ Union is delighted to be in a position to facilitate some of these ideas as they take their first steps. I have no doubt but that we are working with the leaders of the future.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

NUI Galway was the big winner in the gradireland Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards which took place last Thursday in the Mansion House, Dublin. Taking home three major awards in the Postgraduate course of the year categories, NUI Galway graduate Shaun O’Shea also won the main award on the night – the Graduate Employee award. The annual Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards, sponsored by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), recognises excellence amongst Irish postgraduate course providers. The winning courses are judged on the success of the course including employability of graduates, recognition of the course’s quality or ranking by external bodies, research record of academic staff, and providing a good experience for students. Judges also take feedback from students into consideration when selecting a winner. The NUI Galway awards included: Postgraduate Course of the Year – Business NUI Galway: MSc in International Management Postgraduate Course of the Year – Engineering NUI Galway: Masters of Applied Science (Enterprise Systems) Postgraduate Course of the Year – Science NUI Galway: MSc in Biomedical Science (via Distance Learning) Also scooping the main award of the night was recent NUI Galway graduate of the Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management (MSc) Shaun O’Shea, originally from Tralee, Co.Kerry, who now works for Sigmar Recruitment and was presented with the Graduate Employee of the Year Award. Speaking on the awards, Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway, Professor Nollaig Mac Congáil, said: “We are delighted to have done so well in these national awards especially at a time when postgraduate study has never been more important to ensure students and graduates can compete at a higher level for jobs in a very competitive market, both in Ireland and abroad. NUI Galway has worked hard at developing a wide range of courses to facilitate those interested in postgraduate study which is now recognised as being some of the best on offer nationally.” With eight courses in contention, NUI Galway was the higher education institution with the most shortlisted entries this year, a notable achievement, considering there were 126 entries to the competition in total. NUI Galway also took home the most awards on the night of any other shortlisted institution. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer at NUI Galway, said: “Included in our awards is the Biomedical Science programme, just one of the courses we offer as a part-time postgraduate option and which is proving extremely popular in the current climate, especially for those who want to work and study at the same time. This year the University is also offering full-time taught masters scholarships for first class students and those interested should certainly get in touch with us.” All the courses in question are currently accepting applications those interested can apply online via the Postgraduate Applications Centre at NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Business, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. Almost 3,500 postgraduate students (including international students) currently attend NUI Galway. For further information on any of the postgraduate courses available at NUI Galway call 091-495148 or visit ENDS

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among women and the genetic cause of breast cancer is the source of much enquiry.  The discovery of high risk mutations in BRCA1 and 2 genes in the 1990’s identified the cause of breast cancer in approximately 3% of the population.  A further series of investigations have implicated moderate risk genes and a new series of studies have now identified 41 new low penetrance breast cancer susceptibility alleles. This latest study which was published online in Nature Genetics last weekend is a very extensive analysis of 10,052* breast cancer cases and 12,575 control cases of European ancestry.  The results analysed more than 200,000 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) and showed that 41 of these are strongly associated with breast cancer susceptibility.  In addition, genetic links between breast, prostate and ovarian cancer were identified. This represents a great advance in our understanding of these cancers which together affect more than 2.5 million people worldwide annually.     The study which is a collaboration involving multiple international research centres and genetic consortia is the largest genetic association study in cancer so far.  Professor Michael Kerin from NUI Galway who along with Dr Nicola Miller from the Discipline of Surgery, NUI Galway contributed to the study  and stated that this study identifies important genetic variation that can predispose to breast cancer.  “The study is also important in providing evidence for distinct pathways in ER negative breast cancer. All of this information has great potential both for breast cancer prevention and providing new targets for therapy.”  Professor Kerin continued “We are very fortunate here in NUI Galway that we have a large biobank of tissues and bloods that have been contributed by our patients in the Breast Programme and with the support of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute we have been able to contribute to this major international research collaboration which sheds very valuable new light on this important area and opens new avenues for therapy." ENDS

Thursday, 25 April 2013

NUI Galway’s Discipline of Mechanical Engineering will host two Ergonomics events, the Irish Ergonomics Society Annual Conference and a Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Healthcare and Patient Safety in parallel. The two events will take place on Thursday, 9 May in the Engineering Building, NUI Galway. The theme of the Irish Ergonomics Society Annual Conference is ‘Ergonomics and Innovative Technologies’. Keynote speaker is Professor Neville Stanton from the Transportation Research Group, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton. Professor Stanton’s presentation is entitled ‘Augmenting the Driver and Automating Driving – Investigations into the changing nature of the role of the driver with advanced vehicle systems’. Over the past 20 years, Professor Stanton has been involved in a variety of system design projects. He initially conducted research into driver performance with Adaptive Cruise Control with Jaguar, which was first vehicle manufacturer to market  the system. In subsequent years he has worked on other systems, including: vision enhancement, parking aids, queue assist, all-weather warnings, head-up displays, blind-spot monitoring, collision avoidance systems and various levels of vehicle automation. In the course of the presentation, Professor Stanton will present findings from some of his studies and insights into conducting applied driving research projects. The Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Healthcare and Patient Safety will run in parallel to the Irish Ergonomics Society Annual Conference. The invited keynote speaker will be Dr Tom Reader, Lecturer in Organisational and Social Psychology with the London School of Economics, who will deliver a presentation entitled ‘Leadership and team situation awareness during daily rounds in the Intensive Care Unit’. Dr Reader researches, consults, and presents on the topic of organisational safety in the oil and gas, medical, and aviation industries. He is an expert on teamwork, decision-making, leadership, safety culture, risk perception, and non-technical skills assessment and training. Much of Dr Reader’s work has been conducted in acute medicine, and he is interested in why organisational accidents occur (e.g. medical errors), and how organisational psychology can be used to explain and prevent future mishaps. Prior to joining the London School of Economics in 2010, he worked in the offshore sector, and is a former risk advisor to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He is also a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society. Enda Fallon, Senior Lecturer in Industrial Engineering with NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, said: “Human Factors and Ergonomics play a key role with respect to well-being and performance in high reliability systems including aviation, aerospace, nuclear power and off-shore oil and gas. Recently, methods developed for these safety-related industries have been adapted for application in healthcare where they have made a significant contribution to assuring patient safety and the reduction in the potential for human error.” To register for the conferences visit -ENDS-

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Qpercom, a spin-off company of NUI Galway, which provides observational assessment software to medical schools have announced their membership into the Association of Test Publishers. Based in the Clinical Science Institute at NUI Galway, Qpercom has developed a fully fledged system for administering observational clinical exams online with laptops and/or tablets as well as including WEB2.0 real time data analysis. Qpercom, an Enterprise Ireland client company, plans to become the leading edge associated in the field of practical e-assessment with their proven product, large client base and continuous enhancements. Established in 1992, The Association of Test Publishers is a non-profit organization representing providers of tests and assessment tools and/or services related to assessment, selection, screening, certification, licensing, educational or clinical uses. The ATP promotes and advances the integrity of assessment services and products and is dedicated to the highest level of professionalism and business ethics within the test publishing community. Dr Thomas Kropmans, Chief Executive Officer at Qpercom, said: “We are proud to be acknowledged by an association which recognises validity and reliability in exam systems and it displays our commitment to provide the highest quality assessment system to our clients at home and around the world.” This announcement coincides with the release of the latest version of the OSCE Management Information System (OMIS) which delivers new functionality, further empowering universities to move beyond basic testing to achieve detailed and quality assured skills assessments. One such innovation is the Student Tracking System which allows users to search for a particular student in the system and view their results over previous years. OMIS can be used not only to guide an individual’s future learning through detailed feedback but to improve the curriculum content and development using cohort performance data. Dr Kropmans said the new features came as a direct result of feedback from Qpercom’s existing customers: “I’m delighted with the new update to OMIS and the added functionality it brings. It demonstrates our commitment to the needs of our academic partners and our desire to continually enhance and improve our observational assessment software.” "Educators want confidence that they can maintain reliability for their examinations when migrating to virtual platforms. To meet the needs of modern educators, Qpercom have developed a robust system capable of compiling, analysing and distributing results electronically without fear of technical difficulties.” Over the past 5 years the system has been used to successfully assess clinical skills in ten universities including the Karolinska Institute, Sweden; Erasmus University Rotterdam, Dundee University and University of St Andrews in Scotland, and NUI Galway (School of Medicine). For more information visit ENDS

Friday, 26 April 2013

Students and staff at NUI Galway’s School of Medicine recently collaborated in hosting a major international conference addressing healthcare issues of global significance. TEDMED Live was held at the University on Friday, April 19 as a satellite event of the annual TEDMED conference taking place at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, USA. NUI Galway is one of the first institutions outside the United States to receive permission from TEDMED, a multi-disciplinary community of innovators and leaders working together to address the societal causes of ill health, to stage a local conference. The NUI Galway TEDMED Live event attracted over 250 delegates, comprising medical students and academic staff, who contributed to the pre-conference discussions using social media. Organised by Tariq Esmail, a third-year medical student from Canada studying at NUI Galway, the event featured four local NUI Galway speakers, each of whom delivered a short presentation on one of TEDMED’s 20 Great Challenges in Medicine. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUI Galway, explored innovative approaches to human tissue regeneration. Professor Laurence Egan, a Consultant in Gastroenterology, tackled the topic of chronic disease management. Dr Francis Finucance, a Consultant Endocrinologist at University Hospital Galway, gave a captivating perspective on societal approaches to managing the obesity crisis. Professor Matt Griffin, Professor of Transplant Biology at NUI Galway, highlighted the central role of the patient in healthcare in his engaging talk entitled Patient-centred care has been and always will be a winning philosophy. All of the local speakers’ presentations were professionally recorded and will be shared with a global audience on TEDMED has committed to inviting the most creative and engaging speakers to next year’s main conference in the USA. The organisation granted permission to NUI Galway to transmit their preferred session from the TEDMED conference in the USA to their local delegates at last Friday’s event. This webcast featured six international speakers, including such luminaries as Dr Francis S. Collins, an American physician-geneticist renowned for his leadership of the International Human Genome Project and currently serving as Director of the National Institutes of Health in the USA. Reflecting on the success of this international partnership, Dr Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education at NUI Galway and academic adviser for the conference, said: “The School of Medicine at NUI Galway is proud to have been the first Irish institution to host a TEDMED Live satellite conference. The success of this initiative owes much to the vision and diligence of Tariq Esmail, one of our most capable international medical students, to the MedSoc student society, to the enthusiastic student and academic delegates attending the event, and to the powerful impact of the four local speakers, whose presentations have now reached a global audience. Dr Flaherty added: “We are planning to create a novel special study module, entitled TEDMED, which will give ownership of the event to our students and allow us to stage a TEDMED conference annually and invite a larger audience from the wider University and the general public. TEDMED is a forum for innovative approaches to complex global health problems and NUI Galway is proud to be an active partner in this influential community of thinkers and opinion leaders.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Details are emerging from a recent research expedition to the Sub-Tropical North Atlantic. The objective of the expedition was to study the salt concentration (salinity) of the upper ocean. Scientists aboard the Spanish research vessel Sarmiento de Gamboa, including National University of Ireland Galway’s Dr Brian Ward with two of his PhD students, Graig Sutherland and Anneke ten Doeschate, explored the essential role of the ocean in the global water cycle. This oceanographic research campaign is aimed at understanding the salinity of the upper ocean, which is a much more reliable indicator of the water cycle than any land-based measurement. How the water cycle evolves in response to global warming is one of the most important climate change issues. The experiment was located in the North Atlantic Salinity Maximum, which has the highest salt concentration of any of the world’s oceans. Dr Ward explains: “It is not the depths of the ocean which is its most important aspect, but its surface. Everything that gets exchanged between the ocean and atmosphere, such as water, must cross the air-sea interface. We are trying to better understand how small scale turbulence is responsible for the air-sea exchange of freshwater. What is surprising is that these small-scale processes can affect large-scale patterns over the North Atlantic, and we are trying to connect the dots.” The initial part of this ocean field campaign was to conduct a survey of the area to map out horizontal and vertical distribution of salinity using an instrument that was towed behind the ship. “We found quite a lot of fresher water intermingled with the background salty water, but it is moving around quite a bit due to ocean currents, and when we returned to the fresh patch, it had moved. We were currently hunting for this freshwater, as one of the objectives is to understand the spatial inhomogeneity of the upper ocean salinity”, explains Dr Ward. Studying the processes at the ocean surface requires specialised instrumentation, as most measurements ‘miss’ the upper few meters. The National University of Ireland Galway’s AirSea Group are measuring the salinity, temperature, and turbulence of the upper 10 metres of the ocean with very fine detail using their Air-Sea Interaction Profiler (ASIP). The torpedo-shaped device, which is deployed into the water to gather data autonomously, is unique and the only one of its kind. Dr Ward explains: “The ocean surface has been the focus of my research for several years, but there was no easy way to measure what is going on here as there were no instruments available, so we built our own.” The ability to make these unique measurements has resulted in international recognition for the research being conducted at National University of Ireland Galway. Dr Ward’s Research Group is the AirSea Laboratory, which is affiliated with the Ryan Institute and resides in the School of Physics at the National University of Ireland Galway. The main objective of the AirSea Laboratory is to study the upper ocean and lower atmosphere processes which are responsible for atmosphere-ocean exchange.  This experiment is concerned with air-sea exchange of water, but other studies that the AirSea Laboratory have been involved with were looking at how carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, is transported between the air and sea. Dr Ward explains: “The ocean and atmosphere are a coupled system and therefore need to be studied in unison. A major part of our research is to determine how this system affects and is affected by climate and environmental change.” This Irish and Spanish collaboration is part of a bigger international effort called SPURS - Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study. There was also an American research ship in the area participating in the SPURS study, and the Spanish ship was visited by Dr Ray Schmitt from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).  Dr Ward collaborates extensively with the WHOI scientists: “The WHOI scientists have autonomous gliders with microsensors attached, similar to our ASIP. During our measurements, they directed their gliders to the same area as ASIP, and we provided them with data to ground-truth their measurements. This was an excellent opportunity to enhance our links with WHOI, who are the largest oceanographic research institution in the USA.” One of the biggest motivators for SPURS was the recent launch of two satellites for measuring ocean salinity: the European Space Agency’s Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS), and NASA’s Aquarius mission. Dr Ward explains: “It is envisioned that with the combination of the in-situ measurements, satellites, and computer models, we can improve our estimates of global climate change and the water cycle. These data will also be used to improve weather forecasting, and we worked with the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting during this field experiment.” The research vessel left the Canary Islands on 16 March and completed its journey in the Azores on 13 April, during which time the vessel was home to 19 scientists, 6 technicians and 18 crew members. -ends-

Friday, 1 March 2013

Sligo-based blue chip company ProTek Group have announced that it has acquired the business of Galway-based medical device design firm AP Design which is based in the NUI Galway Business Innovation Centre. Based in Sligo’s IDA Business Park, ProTek Medical is one of Ireland’s leading contract manufacturing providers to international blue chip medical device companies. ProTek Medical specialises in injection moulding components for critical care medical device applications such as, stent delivery devices used in minimally invasive cardiovascular surgeries. According to Enterprise Ireland the medical device sector is worth €7.2bn to Irish exports each year. The new ProTek Design facility in Galway puts the company in the centre of Europe’s largest medical device hub. Employing over 125 highly skilled people in a state of the art facility, the additional capabilities mean ProTek is poised to generate job growth across a variety of disciplines over the next 12 months. AP Design has been supporting companies in new product development since 2006. The acquisition means AP Design will continue to deliver innovative product design together with the infrastructure, resources and support services of ProTek Medical to become a complete outsourcing provider to Medical Device and Healthcare companies. Des Regan Owner of AP Design, said: “The company is committed to our existing projects and has strategic integration plans prepared to ensure projects run seamlessly. The entire team here at AP Design will remain in our Galway office with myself assuming the role of Design Director at ProTek Medical. We are very excited of this new venture and are looking and are looking forward to providing added manufacturing capabilities that complement our design services.” Speaking on behalf of the Technology Transfer Office at NUI Galway, Fiona Neary said: “We in NUI Galway are delighted to hear about the acquisition of AP Design and Protek Medical one of Ireland’s leading contract manufacturers, we are confident this enhanced team will deliver innovative products and design and continue to go from strength to strength. We look forward to building further relationships with Protek Medical as we have with AP Design and NUI Galway is happy to offer any supports required going forward. I wish you every success for the future as you grow and strengthen your collaboration." ENDS

Monday, 4 March 2013

Pat McCabe makes a return to Galway for a public interview hosted by the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 20 March. The interview will be conducted by Kevin Barry, author of There are Little Kingdoms, which won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 2007, City of Bohane (2011) and Dark Lies the Island (2012). Pat McCabe’s 1992 novel The Butcher Boy, which ‘takes you seductively to places you had no wish to visit’ as ‘Dennis the Menace becomes Jack the Ripper’ (The Observer), was awarded the Irish Times-Aer Lingus Prize for fiction and brilliantly adapted to film by Neil Jordan. His subsequent novels include The Dead School (1995), Breakfast on Pluto (1998), also adapted to film with Cillian Murphy in the lead role, and Winterwood (2006).  During his visit to NUI Galway, where he was writer in residence in 1999, McCabe will contribute to the Centre for Irish Studies Archive of Irish Writers. The archive includes recordings of more than 25 authors, including John McGahern, Eugene McCabe, Hugo Hamilton, Dermot Healy, Desmond Hogan, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Biddy Jenkinson, Paul Durcan, and Paula Meehan. The public interview will take place in the O’Flaherty Theatre at 8.00pm.  Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend. For further details, contact Samantha Williams at 091 492051 or Ends

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

NUI Galway, in conjunction with Coláiste Iognáid, is delighted to announce the final concert of the Arts in Action concert series on Thursday, 21 March in The Bailey Allen, featuring special guests Cora and Breda Smyth. Performing also on the night, the University Medical School Orchestra directed by Carl Hession, the newly formed Choral Scholars of the St Nicholas Schola Cantorum directed by Mark Duley, The Jes Choir and a special appearance by Frankie Gavin and Michelle Lally. The programme for the finale concert is a fundraising event for the local Jesuit Secondary School Building Fund (Coláiste Iognáid) and promises to be a compelling concert featuring a mix of musical styles and song that includes classical, traditional, and Jazz, among many others, artfully juxtaposed to create a truly remarkable and enjoyable experience. Cora Smyth is a musician and performer of the highest quality. Whether it’s lighting up a stage for Prince Albert of Monaco or bringing Michael Eavis to his feet at Glastonbury festival Cora never ceases to bring her audience under her charm. Cora gained years of valuable experience performing alongside Michael Flatley in “Lord of the Dance”, “Feet of Flames” and “Celtic Tiger”. In January 2011 and 2012 Cora was nominated for “Top Fiddle” in the IMA awards in the US. Breda Smyth plays fiddle and tin whistle and has won many All-Ireland titles. She has toured extensively not alone with Lord of the Dance but also with her own solo performances. She released her debut album ‘Basil and Thyme’ in 2002 and was subsequently nominated as female traditional musician of the year by the ‘Irish Music Magazine’. She has recorded and performed with many international artists including Paul Brady, Eddie Reader, Sharon Shannon, Gerry Douglas, Luka Bloom, Hazel O’Connor and many more. The Medical Orchestra at NUI Galway has been in existence for two years and it has already established itself as a very positive initiative with a number of high profile public performances. In September 2012 NUI Galway and the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas entered into a new partnership with the establishment of twenty choral scholarships for promising young NUI Galway student singers. The scholars form a small chamber choir offering a high level of engagement. Arts in Action concerts are free for students at NUI Galway but this fundraising event will have an admission of €15 for the general public. Students will need ID on the night to gain admission. The Arts in Action concert in the Bailey Allen Hall on Thursday, 21March will start at 8pm sharp. Tickets can be purchased directly from Catherine Hickey at Coláiste Iognáid on 091 – 501550 or on the door on the night. Ends

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Third-level student volunteers from NUI Galway and GMIT, together with Transition Year students from Taylor’s Hill and Salerno Secondary schools were acknowledged for their volunteering throughout the 2012 Galway Science & Technology Festival at a special ceremony at NUI Galway recently. Professor Tom Sherry, College of Science at NUI Galway and Vice-Chairman of the Galway Science & Technology Forum and Tom Hyland, Chairperson of the Galway Science & Technology Forum presented certificates to 70 students for their volunteering efforts at the Main Exhibition of last year’s festival. Professor Sherry highlighted the contribution of the Volunteers to the festival: “The group of student volunteers we are thanking today contributed significantly to the success of the Festival Main Exhibition last November. Over 25,000 members of the public, young and old, visited the NUI Galway campus to see the extremely informative and interactive industrial and research exhibits and the highly entertaining science shows aimed at the younger visitors.  Members of the public, young and old alike were full of praise for these volunteers without whom the festival could not have been such a success.” Tom Hyland also congratulated the student Volunteers for responding to the call to help out at this great annual event: “Science, technology, engineering, innovation and research are extremely important to the economic future of Galway and Ireland.  This annual festival captures the interest and imagination of young people and encourages them to imagine future careers in these areas. Our message to these young people is to continue to study and be interested in the STEM subject areas – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

As part of the international Brain Awareness Week, staff and students of NUI Galway’s Neuroscience Centre will hold a public information exhibit from 13-14 March in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. Members of the public and children from local schools will have the opportunity to visit the exhibit to learn more about how the brain and nervous system work. The exhibit will consist of interactive displays where visitors can learn more about the nervous system in a hands-on way.  For example, there will be various puzzles and tests of hand-eye coordination, visual perception, left/right handedness, creativity and many others. Approximately 180 million Europeans are thought to suffer from a brain disorder, at a total cost of almost €800 billion per annum and visitors will have the chance to learn more about the brain and related disorders through a series of large information posters prepared by the staff and postgraduate students of NUI Galway Neuroscience Centre.  The posters will cover a variety of illnesses including: Epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Pain, Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Stroke, Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury. Information leaflets obtained from brain-related charities and organisations will be displayed and available for the public to take away, such as MS Ireland, Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, Aware, Chronic Pain Ireland, Shine, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland and Brainwave. Microscopes which can be used to view brain cells and brain tissue sections will be available for those interested in seeing what a brain cell and brain tissue really looks like. Additional features include plastic models of the nervous system, and even Play-Doh and colouring books for the very young! There will be short talks on the brain by neuroscientists from NUI Galway and Galway University Hospital. Dr Una Fitzgerald, lead organiser of the exhibit, said: “We hope that this event will increase public awareness about how the brain and nervous system work, and increases awareness of brain disorders and the need for further research and investment in this area.”   NUI Galway’s Neuroscience Centre acknowledges funding from the Dana Foundation and the University’s National Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Science. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

New findings about how the brain functions to suppress pain have been published in the leading journal in the field Pain, by NUI Galway researchers. For the first time, it has been shown that suppression of pain during times of fear involves complex interplay between marijuana-like chemicals and other neurotransmitters in a brain region called the amygdala. The work was carried out by Dr David Finn and his research team in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Centre for Pain Research and Galway Neuroscience Centre at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, NUI Galway. The research builds on previous breakthrough findings from Dr Finn’s research group on the role of marijuana-like chemicals in the brain’s hippocampus in pain suppression during fear. Pain is both a sensory and an emotional experience and is subject to modulation by a number of factors including fear and stress. During exposure to a high-stress environment or stimulus, pain transmission and perception can be potently suppressed. This important survival response can help us cope with or escape from potentially life-threatening situations. One brain region that is integral to the processing and expression of both emotional responses and pain is the amygdala. Working with Dr Finn, first author Dr Kieran Rea was able to confirm the amygdala as a key brain region in the suppression of pain behaviour by fear (so-called fear-induced analgesia). Fear-induced analgesia was associated with increases in levels of marijuana-like substances known as endocannabinoids in the amygdala.  Furthermore, fear-induced analgesia was prevented by injecting a drug that blocked the receptor at which these endocannabinoids act into the amygdala. Further experimentation revealed that these effects involved an interaction between endocannabinoids and the classical neurotransmitters GABA (Gamma-amino butyric acid) and glutamate. An increased understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in fear-induced analgesia is important from a fundamental physiological perspective and may also advance the search for new therapeutic approaches to the treatment of pain.  Dr David Finn, Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre, Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway and study leader says: “The body can suppress pain when under extreme stress, in part through the action of marijuana-like substances produced in the brain. This research provides information on the complex interactions between multiple neurotransmitter systems including endocannabinoids, GABA and glutamate in times of stress and pain. This research which was funded by a grant from Science Foundation Ireland, advances our fundamental understanding of the neurobiology of pain and may facilitate the identification of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of pain and anxiety disorders.” -ends-

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The final Exponential, an NUI Galway funded event which allows the public to meet start-up founders, students, techies and entrepreneurs in a fun and casual way, will take place in Kelly’s Bar on Tuesday, 19 March at 7.30pm. Guest speaker for the final will be Barry O’Sullivan, Senior Vice President at Cisco Systems and one of the new “Dragons” on RTÉ’s Dragon’s Den show. Over the past four months, Exponential has given hundreds of students the opportunity to meet some of Ireland’s technology start-up companies and innovative entrepreneurs, to share ideas, and to learn how some NUI Galway graduates started their own business, right out of college. The final event will centre around a “fireside chat” with one of Ireland’s top technology leaders, Barry O’Sullivan. As well as his role as SVP at Cisco, he is a technology investor and co-founder of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG), a network of Irish and Irish American technology leaders. Some of the topics for discussion on the night will include Barry’s take on how he found the whole Dragon’s Den experience, how start-up companies should go about getting funding, and some advice for people on what to do, and not to do when starting with their business model. Throughout the night, students and other attendees will be able to interact with other start-up company founders, speak to potential employers, and learn what it takes to develop a business idea, form a team, raise finance, set up and run a company. Those who already have a novel idea for a product or business can share their idea and get advice and feedback from fellow students and other entrepreneurs. This is a free event, open to all, but you do need to register at or via the Exponential website at Exponential is a project undertaken as part of the NUI Galway/Students’ Union EXPLORE initiative. Further details on this initiative are available at -ENDS-

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Pre-clinical research has generated some very promising findings using adult stem cells for the treatment of diabetic wounds. The research carried out by scientists at the National University of Ireland Galway, is published in Diabetes, the official journal of the American Diabetes Association. The work showed that a particular type of stem cell, known as the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC), could increase wound healing when applied together with a biomaterial made from collagen. Diabetic patients have an impaired ability to heal wounds and there is a critical need to develop new treatments to improve healing particularly in patients with foot ulcers. In fact, foot ulceration will affect up to 25% of people suffering from diabetes during their lives and may result in amputation. For the past number of years, lead-author on the research paper Dr Aonghus O’Loughlin has been funded by Molecular Medicine Ireland to work in the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at National University of Ireland Galway and Galway University Hospitals. He collaborates with Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of REMEDI, to develop new ways to increase healing of diabetic wounds. Professor O’Brien, principal investigator on the research project, said: “This data will now allow us proceed to apply for approval to carry out first in human studies of this therapeutic approach. We are currently preparing the regulatory submission to undertake a human clinical trial. Meanwhile, part of the funding needed to pursue the human clinical trial has been received from Diabetes Ireland.” “MSC’s have many attractive therapeutic properties”, Professor O’Brien added. “They can be isolated from adults and are easy to grow in the laboratory. It has been shown in Galway and by other scientists that they release special factors that can help new blood vessels to grow. Increasing blood flow is a key step in wound healing.” REMEDI is a Science Foundation Ireland-funded research centre, led by National University of Ireland Galway, with partners in University College Cork and NUI Maynooth. The research centre is a partnership between scientists, clinicians and industry and is the leading centre in the area of stem cell and regenerative medicine in Ireland. REMEDI is a part of the National University of Ireland Galway’s translational and clinical research programme with the objective of translating research discoveries into improved patient care. -ends-

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Derry on Thursday, 21 March. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7-9pm in the Everglades Hotel, Prehen Road, Derry City. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any questions in relation to courses and practical issues including accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and a Bachelor of Arts with Journalism which are brand new for 2013. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Derry, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Derry is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Derry, contact NUI Galway’s Schools Liaison Officer, Gráinne Dunne on 087 244 0858 or ENDS

Friday, 15 March 2013

NUI Galway’s School of Education recently hosted a seminar in Disciplinary Literacy for teachers, teacher educators, researchers and others involved in teacher professional development.  Disciplinary literacy refers to the language, thinking and literacy practices underpinning learning and development within different school subjects and contexts. Professor Elizabeth Birr Moje, Associate Dean of Research and Community Affairs in University of Michigan and Dr Brendan Mac Mahon, School of Education, NUI Galway, shared their expertise in this area and their experiences of helping young people negotiate this difficult and sometimes confusing terrain. In her talk, Professor Moje drew from her research to exemplify what disciplinary literacy is and to illustrate the process of teaching both young people and their teachers how to navigate the many literacy contexts they encounter in and out of school. Professor Moje's goal as a literacy researcher, teacher educator, and former high school teacher, is to inform teaching practice and policy in ways that support young people to negotiate the literacy of their school subjects. Dr Brendan Mac Mahon welcomed the national strategy on Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life, and focused on the role that post-primary teachers of all subjects have in developing students' literacy skills. He presented findings from his own research and outlined implications for the implementation of the strategy and the challenges which will be faced. Dr Mary Fleming, Head of Education at NUI Galway, said: “The attendance from across the spectrum of teacher education and professional development at this event emphasises the importance and current relevance of this topic in the field of education.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

GAA All-Star to Launch Anniversary Ceremony A significant milestone in volunteering in Ireland has been reached this year. NUI Galway’s student volunteering programme celebrates ten years of promoting civic engagement at third-level. The ALIVE programme was the first of its kind in Ireland and its success has been emulated by other third-level institutes across the country. ALIVE - A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience – was established by the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway to harness, acknowledge and support the contribution the University students make to Galway by volunteering. Collectively 6,000 NUI Galway students have given 240,000 hours of voluntary activity over ten years with a contribution to the local economy to be estimated at a €2 million. In addition, students have directly raised over €2 million for a range of charitable causes and community organisations. Tony Griffin, GAA All-Star, author, and founder of Soar Foundation will be guest speaker at anniversary Certificate Ceremony, on Wednesday, 27 March at NUI Galway. Tony will discuss his inspiring journey across Canada on a bike which raised €1 million for cancer research and the building of self-esteem and confidence programmes in schools across Ireland. Galway City Mayor Councillor, Terry O' Flaherty, will also attend the ceremony to acknowledge this year’s student volunteers and commemorate the tenth anniversary, which celebrates 6,000 student recipients of the award. In 2012-2013 alone, 1,000 students volunteered with Ballinfoyle Youth Development Project, Brothers of Charity, Galway Simon Community, Belarussian Orphanage Project, School Completion Programme Eastside and Music for Galway to mention a few. Students also made valuable contributions to enhancing their fellow student’s experiences though peer mentoring, sporting, cultural and artistic programmes through student led clubs and societies. NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The ALIVE programme has been an innovative force in Irish higher education and has been emulated by a range of educational institutions.” Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Volunteer Programme Coordinator,said: “Our community partners co-educate our students who seek to volunteer to gain experience and learn new skills while gaining confidence in the vital role they play as citizens with something to give back to society.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

to tackle heart disease, cancer, diabetes and mental illness NUI Galway is spearheading Ireland’s involvement in a new network focussed on preventative science. The Science for Prevention Academic Network (SPAN) is a new network to advance scientific expertise and help prevent non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and mental illness. “Non-communicable diseases are the most significant burden to society, and are often preventable, yet only a small proportion of national health budgets are spent on combating them. There’s a real mis-match here,” explains Dr Michal Molcho from the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway who is leading Ireland’s involvement in the network. “In terms of dealing with these non-communicable diseases, most of our health budget is spent treating them yet what they spend on prevention can be as little as three or four per cent.” SPAN will enable an international group of prevention scientists based across Europe to work together. In total, 32 universities and institutions will be involved in the project led by Oxford Brookes University, and funded initially by £500,000 from the European Commission. Heart disease and cancer are caused by four main risk behaviours: smoking, excessive drinking, poor diet and lack of exercise. SPAN will help prevent these diseases in people before they manifest serious symptoms as they grow older. Dr Michal Molcho added: “The future of preventative science, research and education will be given a tremendous boost by the launch of this international network of experts. We will build a strong scientific base in this important field and build collaboration which has not existed across Europe in this area until now. We aim to build science in this area, attract more young scientists to the field and make sure that the latest research is shared across Europe.” The initial funding will allow the experts conduct an audit of the preventative science sector across the continent, improve education and training, build networks and run workshops with researchers, in particular young researchers. The Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway is a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborative Centre for Health Promotion Research, linking directly with WHO world Headquarters in Geneva. -ends-

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Conflicts in Ireland over how to best use natural resources – from oil and gas extraction to wind and fish farms – continue to make headlines. A new book from researchers with the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway titled Methods of Sustainability Research for the Social Sciences offers fresh insights into how to understand local conflicts over natural resources, and their connections with [un]sustainable development. “Recent efforts to exploit Ireland’s natural resources such as the Corrib Gas development, the proposed fish farm in Galway Bay, plans for hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) and the erection of wind farms and pylons have been met with strong local opposition,” says Dr Henrike Rau, one of the book’s editors. She adds “Citizens across the country have voiced their concern over the potentially negative impacts of these projects for people and the environment. A recent event in Galway saw more than 1,000 people protest against the proposed fish farm in Galway Bay. Across the country people increasingly question the unsustainability of development that ignores local people’s interests and threatens their living environment.” Methods of Sustainability Research is a collection of insights on innovative ways to examine sustainability questions. Its aim is to be a practical and useful resource for students, academics and practitioners interested in sustainability research.   Co-editors Dr Frances Fahy and Dr Henrike Rau, both of NUI Galway, brought together geographers, sociologists, psychologists, human ecologists and political scientists from Ireland and Europe, in an attempt to create a body of work that could offer real solutions informed by rigorous research. The book came in response to increased public interest in NUI Galway courses related to sustainability issues such as Environmental Planning, Sustainable Development in Ireland, Geographies of Sustainable Consumption and Sociology of the Environment. Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, says “Sustainability research has gained considerable momentum in recent times in both the natural and social sciences, partly because academics, policy makers and the public have grown increasingly aware of pressing social and environmental sustainability issues. The work of Drs Fahy and Rau and their team is making an important contribution to tackling our climate and energy crises. I am delighted to see the expertise that they and their colleagues have brought together has resulted in a format that so many can access.”   The book is being launched next Tuesday, 26 March at 5pm , in ‘The Space’, Áras na Mac Léinn, at NUI Galway.  The launch is free, and all are welcome. -ends-

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Over 65 students were recognised by NUI Galway today (Thursday, 21 March) at a special ceremony when they were conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne. One student, Dr John Kelly, was also conferred with a DSc on Published Work. Degrees on published work are higher doctorates and are the highest qualifications awarded by the University. They are awarded to scholars who have, over a sustained period, published a substantial body of ground-breaking and influential work in a field of specialisation and who have achieved outstanding distinction internationally in that field. All Colleges of the University were represented at the ceremony, with graduands from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, the College of Business, Public Policy and Law; the College of Engineering and Informatics; the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; and the College of Science. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: “I would like to congratulate each graduate on their achievement in earning their doctorate degrees. We in NUI Galway are determined that this University will play its full part in producing the graduates and the leaders who will create the future. We have significantly increased our number of PhD graduates in recent years as we strive to meet the needs of the knowledge and innovation economy.” The next conferrings to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 14 June and the summer conferring on Wednesday, 26 June. -ENDS-  

Friday, 22 March 2013

An Irish-based scientist has been involved in a new discovery showing that there is only one species of the enigmatic giant squid worldwide. The subject of mariners tales since ancient times, this huge 10 armed invertebrate can grow to 13 meters and lives at depths of up to 1000 meters under the sea. Dr Louise Allcock of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway was a member of an international team, led by the University of Copenhagen, which studied the genetic code of the giant squid, which can weigh over 900 kg. It is less than a year since the giant squid was first filmed alive in its natural element, at a depth of 630 meters by a submarine near Japan. “The giant squid is extremely rarely seen, except as the remains of animals that have been washed ashore, and placed in the formalin or ethanol collections of museums,” explains Dr Allcock. “For a long time it has remained unclear how many species of giant squid exist. Our mitochondrial DNA data strongly point to the existence of a single species.” The research was led by PhD student Inger Winkelmann and her supervisor Professor Tom Gilbert, from the Basic Research Centre in GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen University. The study, which is published today in the esteemed journal, the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, analyzed DNA from the remains of 43 giant squid collected from all over the world. The results show, that the animal is genetically nearly identical all over the planet, and shows no evidence of living in geographically structured populations. One possible explanation for this is that although evidence suggests the adults remain in relatively restricted geographic regions, the young that live on the ocean’s surfaces must drift in the currents globally. Once they reach a large enough size to survive the depths, the authors of the paper believe they dive to the nearest suitable deep waters, and there the cycle begins again. Scientists have yet to discover how old the creature gets, how quickly they grow and how they might have been affected by climate change in the past. “These are fascinating creatures, living in one of the planet’s most extreme environments, yet growing to gigantic proportions”, concludes Dr Allcock. “There is still so much we to learn about them, and ultimately about our planet.” -ends-

Friday, 22 March 2013

NUI Galway announced the recipients of the 2013 Sports Awards at a special ceremony last night (Thursday, 21 March). The awards recognise sporting performance, leadership and participation, as well as those that contribute to the running and development of the NUI Galway Sports Clubs. This year’s individual award winners include Des Leonard who won his second World Junior Kickboxing title this year and Darren Wallace who set a new Irish University record in Archery this year. Darren was also part of the NUI Galway Archery team which dominated the Irish Varsity scene this year and who are in receipt of one of the team awards. The Tom Tuohy memorial award remembers one of Ireland’s greatest ever rowing coaches who contributed to the NUI Galway boat club for 30 years. The award recognises outstanding achievement in the past year by an individual or crew and this year goes to Robert O’Callaghan who was part of the Senior 8 that won the National title last summer. Kathy Hynes, Development Office, Sports Clubs and Participation, NUI Galway said: “Each year NUI Galway recognises the outstanding contribution of student athletes across many diverse sporting disciplines for their achievements in sport. This year’s awards ceremony extended to reflect not only the achievements of students in terms of performance sport but also the contribution of the clubs to campus life and the importance of participation in sport and exercise. Five such awards were awarded to reflect this important contribution to university life.” The Table Tennis Club and Surf Club were joint winners of the ‘Leadership Alumni Award’,a dedicated leadership programme for all Club Captains and committee members. The programme is a partnership between the University’s Sports Clubs and Galway Alumni Office. The ‘Club Captain’s Award’, which recognises the enormous contribution of individual students to the successful running of sports clubs, was presented to Gráinne Conway. ‘Most Improved Sports Club Recognition’ was awarded to the Ladies Soccer club, under the direction of team Captain Rosa Shine, who, with her committee, raised the profile of their club through increasing student numbers, evaluating training methods and providing a strong foundation for their future success. Sporting life on campus is not just for the elite performers and this is reflected in the ‘Outstanding Recreational Participation Award’ which this year was awarded “Fresh N Cool” a group of young men who have participated in the indoor Futsal leagues for the past three years. These individuals have been selected from several different teams for their participation within the Futsal league, their sense of fair play, camaraderie and the sense of community they provide to all students involved in the league. The ‘Special Achievement Award’ recognises, over a period of time, the excellence of a club or club member. This year’s recipient was Hannah Smith who as Club Captain, committee member and team player raised the profile and success of Women’s rugby at a local and national level. This is the 30th year of the awards and past winners include current Galway Hurling manager Anthony Cunningham, Irish Soccer International Meabh De Burca, Olympians, Éadaoin Ní Cheallaráin, Olive Loughnane, Paul Hession, Alan Martin and Cormac Folan, as well as a long list of All-Ireland winners and Internationals. Gary Ryan, NUI Galway’s Development Officer for Elite Sport, said: “When you look at the list of the people who have won these awards over the years some of the most recognisable names in Irish Sport are amongst them. There are also dozens of former students who have contributed enormously to sport locally and nationally since then in a variety of different roles. It is striking to see how many past award winners are now involved in coaching and administration and reinforces how important the learning experience of being involved in University Clubs can be.” 2012 Sports Award Winners: Individual Awards Archery: Darren Wallace from Portlaoise, Co. Laois Ladies Soccer: Jennifer Byrne from Ballinsloe, Co. Galway Cricket: Waqar Ul Hassan from Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo Pool and Snooker: Stephen Darren Dempsey from Monaghan Town Swimming, Lifesaving and Waterpolo: Kevin McGlade from Galway City Hurling: Kevin Moynihan from Ennis, Co. Clare Camogie: Orlaith Duggan from Clooney, Co. Clare Men’s Gaelic Football: Ciaran McDonald from Aherlow, Co. Tipperary Hockey: Síle Johnson from Bandon, Co. Cork Tom Tuohy Award for Achievement in Rowing: Rob O’Callaghan from Galway City Kickboxing: Des Leonard from Riverstown, Co. Sligo Team Winners     Team Award - Archery Club        Team Award - Swimming and Lifesaving Team Team Award - Mystics (Ladies Basketball) Team Award - Volleyball Club    Most Improved Club: Ladies Soccer Club Outstanding Recreation Participation Award: Futsal winners "Fresh N Cool" Club Captains Award: Surf Club - Captain Gráinne Conway from Westport, Co. Mayo Special Achievement Award: Hannah Smith from Ennis, Co. Clare, past Captain and now secretary of Women’s Rugby Club Leadership Alumni Award: Joint winners – Table Tennis Club and Surf Club -ENDS-

Monday, 25 March 2013

NUI Galway is delighted to announce that the Dr Tony Ryan Trust has made a significant donation to the University to support scholarship and innovation in environment, marine and energy as well as the University’s access programme. In addition to supporting the access programme, this significant philanthropic gift of over one million euro will specifically provide fully funded research scholarships for five PhD students.  The Dr Tony Ryan Research Scholarships will offer opportunities to pursue a postgraduate degree in the key research areas of environment, marine and energy.  The scholarships will specifically focus on research priorities at The Ryan Institute in the University, including: Innovation in energy-efficient technologies and bio-energy Research and development in aquaculture, fisheries, offshore renewable energy resources and bio-discovery Development of technologies for monitoring, modelling and mitigation of environmental pressures Speaking on behalf of the Trustees of the Dr Tony Ryan Trust, Emma Lane-Spollen said: “We are proud to support so many Irish and migrant students to access NUI Galway’s degree programmes with €125,000 per year for 4 years. We also look forward to supporting the development of the marine industry and the exploration of marine ecosystems in Ireland by supporting Galway’s ability to attract the best PhD students through these 5 full scholarships, putting Galway at the forefront of marine research and innovation.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “This scholarship funding amplifies the generous support received in the past from the Ryan family.  NUI Galway remains indebted to the late Dr Tony Ryan and the Ryan family for the vision and the enlightened philanthropy which led to the capital development of the Ryan Institute in the 1990s.  The Ryan Institute is the leading centre for environment, marine and energy research in Ireland.  Increasingly these areas are becoming crucial to the global economy, generating new and sustainable technologies.  Support for scholarship and innovation in these areas is a strategic and important decision by the Trust and I would like to thank the Trustees for their philanthropy. The Dr Tony Ryan Trust’s funding of the NUI Galway Access Programme will also enable talented students facing financial challenges to realise their full educational potential.” The Ryan Institute Award In addition to the Dr Ryan Scholarship Fund, a substantial Ryan Institute Award will feature annually, as a new means to support and foster entrepreneurship and innovation.  The Award, which will be presented each year for five years, will be coupled with the above scholarship opportunity to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and spin-outs from postgraduate research at NUI Galway.  An annual University competition, targeted at researchers and/or postgraduate students within the Ryan Institute, will assess business ideas arising from research.  This award is to enable the winner to commercialise or develop their idea, including through further research at home or abroad. The Ryan Institute has over 300 researchers making it Ireland’s largest research institute to focus on some of the most pressing environmental and energy issues of the 21st century.  NUI Galway’s formal research in this area goes back to the early-1990s when Dr Tony Ryan, funded the Marine Research Building, named in memory of his father Martin Ryan. Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway said: “NUI Galway has a long history of engaging with vital environmental and marine issues through our research, especially in the areas of climate change, water resources, marine ecosystems, biodiversity and sustainability. We strongly welcome this support for research scholarship and look forward to further collaboration with the Dr Tony Ryan Trust as the fund and award scheme realise the bright minds of the future.” -ends-

Monday, 25 March 2013

Doing the Leaving Certificate and looking ahead to University? NUI Galway is holding a University Taster Day for Leaving Certificate students during the Easter break. The Taster Day will combine a series of revision sessions on aspects of the Leaving Certificate curriculum, together with some taster workshops in new Arts subjects. Participants will gain unique insights into Leaving Cert subjects in revision sessions taught by University lecturers. A choice of 17 subjects is on offer in areas like English, Irish, French, History, Geography and more. Students will also enjoy taster workshops in University level Arts subjects like Psychology, Drama, Film Studies and Sociology and Politics. Organiser of the University Taster Day, Joe Mac Donnacha explained: “Students are focused on their revision for the Leaving Certificate at this time of year. The aim of the NUI Galway Taster Day is to help them maximize their revision in key subject areas, while also giving them an enjoyable introduction to some of the subjects taught on the University’s Arts degree.” The Arts degree at NUI Galway is the second largest undergraduate course in the country, attracting over 1,000 new students every year.   Commenting on the ongoing popularity of the Arts degree at NUI Galway for students, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, Dr Edward Herring, said: “Arts and Social Science students are very creative. More start-up enterprises are founded by Arts graduates than Business graduates. You find successful Arts and Social Sciences graduates in almost every walk of life. Of course, we need scientists, engineers, doctors, and entrepreneurs but we also need those people who understand and can critique human behaviour, social values and cultural creativity. That is what Arts graduates are trained to do.” The NUI Galway Taster Day runs from 9.30am to 3pm on Friday, 5 April, in the Engineering Building on the NUI Galway campus. Advanced booking is essential for this FREE revision session and taster day. Bookings can be made online at: Enquiries should be directed to (091) 494 145 or email   ENDS

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Bishop John Fleming of the diocese of Killala, Co Mayo and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, are pleased to announce that Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa will endorse the proposed new Mary Robinson Centre with the presentation of a Welcoming Stone at an ecumenical event in St Muredach’s Cathedral, in Mrs Robinson’s home town of Ballina, Co Mayo on Saturday, May 11 next at 6pm (18:00hrs). The Mary Robinson Centre is being developed by a partnership including National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway), Mayo County Council, Ballina Town Council, the local community and the Robinson / Bourke families together with Government support.  Representatives of all will attend the event. Archbishop Tutu and Mrs Robinson, who has just been announced as the UN’s new Special Envoy to Africa’s troubled Great Lakes region, will engage in a shared reflection which will be conducted in St Muredach’s Cathedral and chaired by the renowned Irish journalist and current affairs presenter, Olivia O’Leary. The Archbishop will also visit the site of the new Centre at Mary Robinson’s birthplace, the Bourke family home on Victoria Terrace at Ballina, directly opposite the Cathedral.   Ends