NUI Galway Research Produces Guidelines for Communication between GPs and Migrants

NUI Galway Research Produces Guidelines for Communication between GPs and Migrants   -image

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

NUI Galway has published guidelines to support communication between general practitioners (GPs) and migrants who have limited English language skills. The research is a direct and practical response to the ongoing reality in Ireland that many service users from migrant communities and their GPs face significant communication challenges because of language and cultural differences.Funding for the research was provided by the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Health Service Executive (HSE).A key finding from this extensive, participatory research process is that the recommended best practice is to use a trained, accredited interpreter or to consult with a general practitioner who has fluency in the language of the service user. These supports increase the chances that information is shared accurately and effectively during a consultation.Ms Mary O’Reilly-de Brún, Senior Researcher in the Discipline of General Practice, School of Medicine, NUI Galway, points out: “Using children and other family members or friends as interpreters is not considered best practice by migrants, general practice staff, professional interpreters or HSE service planners involved in this project. The use of visual or computer aids such as phrase books or on-line translation programmes are also not considered best practice.”Ms. Mary O’Reilly-de Brún worked with project leader Anne MacFarlane, Professor of Primary Healthcare Research, University of Limerick, and colleagues in the Health Service Executive National Social Inclusion Unit and the Centre for Participatory Strategies, Galway to produce the report entitled ‘Guideline for Communication in Cross-Cultural General Practice Consultations’.The importance of the research was highlighted by Diane Nurse from the HSE National Social Inclusion Unit: “This participatory research process progresses recommendations in the HSE National Intercultural Health Strategy 2007-2012 by taking a multi-stakeholder approach to clarifying what kinds of supports work best for whom and in what circumstances.”An important feature of the participatory research process was the involvement of Service User Peer Researchers (SUPERS). These included Khalid Ahmed, Jean Samuel Bonsenge Bokanga, Maria Manuela De Almeida Silva, Aga Mierzejewska, Lovina Nnadi, Florence Ogbebor and Katya Okonkwo. The group trained in participatory research methods with the Centre for Participatory Strategies, Galway.This training enabled the SUPERS to give members of their wider communities an opportunity to ‘have a voice’, in their own languages and with people from their own cultural groups, in the development of the guidelines. In total, fifty-one members of the migrant community from Polish, Russian, Portuguese, Urdu, French Congolese speaking and Nigerian communities in the Galway region, participated in this research along with representatives from general practices, professional interpreting and the HSE.Speaking about her experience of being trained as a peer researcher Maria Manuela De Almeida Silva said: “The most exciting and important experience was the PLA training provided, it was excellent training. I use it all the time now, with lots of different groups and in lots of different project. ”This research was funded by the Health Research Board and the Health Service Executive National Social Inclusion Unit through a Health Research Board Partnership Award. -ends-

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NUI Galway Nurtures Next Generation of Technology Users

NUI Galway Nurtures Next Generation of Technology Users-image

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

NUI Galway saw huge numbers attending the first ever Galway CoderDojo event held on campus recently. CoderDojo, an Irish led global network of computer clubs where young people come to learn to code, develop websites, apps, games and more, is hosted and supported by NUI Galway.Topics covered in CoderDojo Galway include web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript and programming languages such as Scratch. There are also plans to cover other languages such as Python and Java, as well as Databases, and Mobile Apps and Games as the CoderDojo develops in future classes.The Head of Discipline of Information Technology at NUI Galway, Dr Michael Madden, said:  “We are very excited to have CoderDojo come to Galway. It is vital for young people to understand how our digital world works, and CoderDojo provides a unique environment to exchange knowledge and learn from each other how to write software, particularly in the absence of a computer science curriculum in Secondary Schools.”Adrian Bannon, one of the organisers of CoderDojo, said: “Illiteracy of the 21st century will not be those who cannot just read and write but those who cannot program and code. Coderdojo seeks to address this deficit.”NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) is also supporting CoderDojo and is looking for volunteers, especially IT students, who will assist and supervise the young people during the classes. Volunteers will be presented with an ALIVE certification as recognition of their work.According to Brendan Smith, Education Officer at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) of NUI Galway, “The high attendance at last weekend’s registration shows that there is an appetite amongst the general public for our school-going population to learn the skills that will transform Ireland from a nation of digital users into a nation of digital creators. Thankfully Coderdojo also proves that there is also an army of volunteer mentors drawn from the third level education sector, industry and elsewhere who are prepared to give their time free of charge to help educate our children in computer coding.”CoderDojo, a free event, will take place every Saturday from 12 to 3:30pm, with groups in both the DERI Building in IDA Business Park and in Lab 102 in the Information Technology Building at NUI Galway.Interested parties are asked to bring lunch, a laptop (if they have one) and attendees under 12 years are asked to bring a parent along.Due to the large demand, those interested are asked to register before attending. For further information visit http://coderdojo.com or email coderdojogalway@gmail.com.-ENDS-

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President Browne Pays Tribute to John Cunningham

President Browne Pays Tribute to John Cunningham-image

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, has paid tribute to the late John Cunningham, former Editor of the Connacht Tribune.A Tuam native, Mr Cunningham was editor of the Connacht Tribune newspaper from 1984 to 2007. He had worked as editor for the Waterford News and Star from 1982 to 1984. He also contributed to broadcast journalism as a commentator on RTÉ current affairs programmes. He was conferred with an Honorary Master of Arts, honoris causa, degree on 23 October, 2006 by NUI Galway for his contribution to regional and national journalism and for his role as an Adjunct Lecturer in journalism at the University.Dr Jim Browne, NUI Galway President, said: "The University offers its sincere condolences to John’s family, particularly his wife Nuala and his four sons Shane, Gary, Ivor and Enda, along with his many friends and colleagues. John was an inspirational figure in Irish journalism.  In his career with the Connacht Tribune and as an Adjunct Lecturer in NUI Galway he fostered the talents of some of the leading figures in the worlds of Irish media and journalism.  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.”

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Development Education Day at NUI Galway

Development Education Day at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The School of Education at NUI Galway will hold a Development Education Day on Wednesday, 15 February. Organised in partnership with Self Help Africa and with support from Irish Aid, the event is the first step towards integrating Development Education as a much more significant component across all Initial Teacher Education programmes offered at the University.NUI Galway students on the Professional Diploma in Education, Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas and the BA in Mathematics and Education programmes, as well as some practicing teachers from cooperating partner schools, will also participate in the event. The Development Education Day will involve 26 expert speakers hosting 33 sessions, promoting awareness among the teachers. The event will also provide attendees with some knowledge on the main emerging issues within Development Education and ideas on how to bring development issues into the classrooms.Keynote speakers at the Development Education Day will include: Sydney Chisi, Director of Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe and Ray Jordan, CEO of Self Help Africa.Development Education themes covered throughout the event will include Global Interdependence, Climate Change, Food Security and Irelands Bilateral Aid Programme, and group workshops will focus on how to integrate Development Education in specific areas across the curriculum.Event Organiser, Seán Ó Grádaigh from the NUI Galway School of Education, said: “Development Education plays a key role in the curriculum in Irish second level schools. Through a series of workshops, presentations and seminars, this event will provide our student teachers with a broad understanding of current development education issues. Participants will gain an understanding of the skills required to embed development education topics into their subject teaching.”For further information contact Seán Ó Grádaigh in the School of Education, NUI Galway, at sean.ogradaigh@nuigalway.ie or 091 494072/495985. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Win Award in HSA National Competition

NUI Galway Win Award in HSA National Competition-image

Monday, 13 February 2012

A team of engineering students from NUI Galway have won second place in the Health and Safety Authority’s (HSA) ‘Safety in Design and Construction’ third-level competition. The NUI Galway team consisted of: Kevin Carney, a fourth year BSc in Project and Construction student from Frenchpark, Co. Roscommon; fourth year BE in Civil Engineering student Grant Deeney from Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon; and Conor Higgins a fourth year BE in Civil Engineering student from Wicklow Town.At the finals, held recently in Dublin, six short-listed teams battled it out to win the first prize. The overall winners were Carlow IT, with third place going to Letterkenny IT.  Other third-level institutions represented in the final included Cork IT and two teams from Carlow IT.The aim of the competition is to provide an environment where undergraduate students can collaborate and work together to enhance, develop and embed their knowledge and understanding of health and safety in construction.  The challenge involved the selection, procurement and installation of a complete MRI Modular Unit, and all associated site preparatory and interface works within an existing hospital. The project also included the design and specification of any necessary internal reconfiguration works required to be carried out to the hospital. Central to the brief was to minimise all risks to the safety and health of patients, staff, and construction workers arising from the installation works.Chairperson of the Authority’s Third Level Education Group, Dr Anne Drummond, said: “This competition goes beyond the boundaries of the classroom and brings together students who may not yet have interacted at an undergraduate level and yet, will work together as professionals. The approach to the competition is based on problem-based learning which resembles professional life far more than many more traditional methods of assessment. The feedback from students and their lecturers is that the engagement of working together with their colleagues on the competition is a rewarding and enjoyable part of their learning experience.”Joanne Harmon, Education Manager with the Health and Safety Authority said: “This competition is in its third year and it’s great to see the level of engagement from students and their lecturers as well as the continual high standards and creativity on display.  I would like to congratulate NUI Galway and thank everyone else who took part.  We kept the brief as real as possible so that students had to be creative in their solutions but are also as likely to come across similar scenarios in their future working life.”Dr Jamie Goggins Programme Director for BSc in Project and Construction Management at NUI Galway, said: “We would like to congratulate Kevin, Grant and Conor on winning second place in this competition. Members of this team also won the competition last year, which is a credit to the students. The aim of the competition fits very well with the ethos of our undergraduate degree programmes in construction related programmes – to provide an environment where undergraduate students can collaborate and work together to enhance, develop and embed their knowledge and understanding of various aspects of engineering and construction. Furthermore, this competition provides a platform for students to work in multidisciplinary groups, which is an experience that we value and promote in our undergraduate degree programmes.”The judging panel was made up of the following members: Paraig Earley, Construction Policy Inspector, HSA; Mike Keyes, Aegis Safety Management; and Tony Sheridan, Health and Safety Manager, John Sisk and Son Ltd.-ENDS-

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Research Breakthrough Shows Promise in Offsetting Cornea Transplant Rejection

Research Breakthrough Shows Promise in Offsetting Cornea Transplant Rejection-image

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Success rates for cornea transplants could be greatly improved following a major advance in genetically modifying donor corneas. Scientists at National University of Ireland Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) have determined a method, in pre-clinical trials, to genetically modify donor corneas so that they are less likely to be rejected by the host immune system. With more than 100,000 procedures a year worldwide, cornea transplantation (keratoplasty) is the most frequent transplant procedure. The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped surface of the eye, and accounts for a large part of its focussing power. Transplantations can restore vision, reduce pain and improve the appearance of a damaged or diseased cornea.Although keratoplasty is a procedure with good success rates, incidence of graft rejection still exists. For some high-risk patients, rejection rates can be as high as 50%. Using their breakthrough technique on the donor corneal tissue before grafting, the REMEDI team showed success in laboratory trials of decreased inflammatory response and protection against rejection.The research team at NUI Galway, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, was led by Dr Thomas Ritter: “What we have succeeded in doing with the latest molecular biology techniques is to successfully encourage the donor cornea to produce ample PD-L1. It is known that Programmed Death-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) stops the activity of the body’s fighter immune cells and prohibits their ability to disrupt the transplantation process. By encouraging the donor cornea to produce PD-L1, it increased what known as the ‘immune privilege’ or ability of the eye to accept the graft.”Dr Ritter added: “Potentially, what is most exciting is that these strategies could be of value for other transplant models. It could be applied, for example, to protect pancreatic islet cells transplanted for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.”With Dr Ritter’s research, significant prolongation of transplant survival was observed which was associated with a reduction of the inflammatory response. No additional anti-rejection treatment was necessary for the recipients of the engineered corneas. These encouraging results may lead to a novel treatment protocol for ‘high-risk’ corneal graft recipients who are more likely to reject the graft than other patients. The research is published in this month’s American Journal of Transplantation.Mr Gerry Fahy, Consultant Ophthalmologist at University Hospital Galway, who was involved in this study, commented on the results of this study: “Prevention of corneal transplant rejection is very important. This research describes a new exciting method of achieving that goal. I look forward to its translation into clinical use.”Further investigations using mesenchymal stem cells by scientists at REMEDI will examine how these potent cells could also be used to prevent graft rejection.-end-

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Mick Loftus Launches Sigerson Cup Finals Weekend at NUI Galway

Mick Loftus Launches Sigerson Cup Finals Weekend at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

NUI Galway Gaelic Club will this year host the Irish Daily Mail Sigerson Cup Finals and today (Monday, 13 February) former GAA President Mick Loftus was on campus to officially launch the event.  NUI Galway has won the prestigious Sigerson Cup on no less than 22 occasions, the last being 2003. Loftus was a member of the University team on three of those occasions. Over the weekend of the 24/25 February NUI Galway will host over 400 of the brightest talents on the forefront of Gaelic football nationally. As well as the Sigerson cup semi-finals and final, the Trench cup semi-finals and final along with Corn na Mac Léinn semi-finals and finals will take place. The final of the Sigerson and Trench cups will take place in Pearse Stadium with the Sigerson final live on TG4 at 3pm on Saturday, 25 February. Speaking at the launch, Niamh NicLiam, Marketing Manager with The Irish Daily Mail, said: We are delighted to sponsor this year’s Sigerson Cup Finals at NUI Galway. As Ireland’s youngest newspaper we’ve been cementing our relationship with the GAA over the last few years and The Irish Daily Mail GAA third level leagues and championship is a fantastic opportunity for us to build on this even further. We are sure that the Sigerson Cup Finals weekend in NUI Galway will be a huge success and we would like to wish all involved the very best of luck.” NUI Galway Gaelic football club will also honour the 1962 and 1963 Sigerson winning teams with a Sigerson reunion dinner at the Radisson Hotel on Friday, 24 February. Ten of the players being honoured on the night went on to backbone the legendary Galway three-in-a-row team of 1964 - 1966.  2012 is also the centenary of the very first Sigerson win in 1912, and a bespoke colour programme will be published to honour this centenary and other great wins and memories of Sigerson cup in NUI Galway over the decades. Speaking before the official launch NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The Sigerson Cup weekend promises to be a great weekend of sport at NUI Galway.  I pay tribute to our former Sigerson Cup players who return to their alma mater, traveling from Ireland and overseas, for this weekend of sporting reunion.  By returning they celebrate with us the spirit of participation and achievement which has distinguished the club for the past 100 years.  In particular, I welcome the members of the 1962 and 1963 teams who gather to mark the 50th anniversary of their Sigerson success.  On this Sigerson centenary occasion, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of many students, alumni, current and former staff who have been involved over the years in building support for Gaelic Games on our campus.” NUI Galway GAA Club has issued a welcome to football followers from all over the region to make their way to Dangan and other venues for what promises to be a weekend of Gaelic football to remember from the stars of tomorrow. ENDS   Seolann Mick Loftus Deireadh Seachtaine Chorn Sigerson in OÉ Gaillimh Tionólfaidh Club Peile OÉ Gaillimh Cluiche Ceannais Chorn Sigerson an Irish Daily Mail i mbliana agus inniu (Dé Luain, 13 Feabhra) bhí iar-Uachtarán an CLG Mick Loftus ar an gcampas chun an ócáid a sheoladh go hoifigiúil.  Tá Corn Sigerson buaite ag OÉ Gaillimh 22 babhta, in 2003 go deireadh. Bhí Loftus ar fhoireann na hOllscoile trí bhabhta acu sin. I rith dheireadh seachtaine an 24/25 Feabhra beidh 400 de na himreoirí is fearr ag imirt peile sa tír faoi láthair in OÉ Gaillimh. Chomh maith le cluichí leathcheannais agus cluiche ceannais Chorn Sigerson beidh cluichí leathcheannais agus cluiche ceannais Chorn Trench mar aon le cluichí leathcheannais agus cluiche ceannais Chorn na Mac Léinn ar siúl an deireadh seachtaine céanna. Beidh cluichí ceannais Chorn Sigerson agus Chorn Trench ar siúl ar Pháirc an Phiarsaigh agus beidh cluiche ceannais Chorn Sigerson beo ar TG4 ag 3pm Dé Domhnaigh, an 25 Feabhra. Ag labhairt ag an seoladh, dúirt Niamh NicLiam, Bainisteoir Margaíochta le The Irish Daily Mail: Tá an-áthas orainn urraíocht a dhéanamh ar Chluiche Ceannais Chorn Sigerson i mbliana in OÉ Gaillimh. Is é nuachtán s'againne is nuachtán is nuaí ar an margadh agus táimid ag iarraidh an caidreamh atá againn le CLG a láidriú le roinnt blianta anuas. Is iontach an deis sraitheanna agus craobhchomórtas CLG The Irish Daily Mail an tríú leibhéal chun an caidreamh sin a láidriú. Táimid cinnte go n-éireoidh go maith le deireadh seachtaine Chorn Sigerson in OÉ Gaillimh agus ba mhaith linn gach ádh a ghuí ar gach a bheas páirteach.” Beidh dinnéar Sigerson ar siúl ag club peile OÉ Gaillimh chomh maith d'fhoirne buaiteacha 1962 agus 1963 in Óstán an Radisson Dé hAoine, an 24 Feabhra. Bhí deichniúr de na himreoirí a bheidh i láthair ar an oíche ar fhoireann cháiliúil na Gaillimhe a bhuaigh trí bliana as a chéile 1964 - 1966.  Tá sé céad bliain chomh maith ó crochadh Corn Sigerson den chéad uair i 1912, agus foilseofar clár speisialta daite chun é seo agus buanna agus cuimhní eile in OÉ Gaillimh le céad bliain anuas a chomóradh. Ag labhairt roimh an seoladh oifigiúil, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Beidh neart spóirt in OÉ Gaillimh i rith dheireadh seachtaine Chorn Sigerson.  Tréaslaím le hiarimreoirí Chorn Sigerson atá ag filleadh ar a n-alma mater, as ar fud na tíre agus na cruinne, don deireadh seachtaine spórtúil seo.  Beidh siad ag ceiliúradh rannpháirteachas agus éachtaí an chlub seo le céad bliain anuas.  Ba mhaith liom fáilte ar leith a chur roimh fhoirne 1962 agus 1963 atá ag ceiliúradh leathchéad bliain ó bhuaigh siad Corn Sigerson.  Don chomóradh céad bliain, ba mhaith liom aitheantas a thabhairt don obair atá déanta ag mic léinn, ag alumni, agus ag comhaltaí foirne in imeacht na mblianta chun tacú leis na Cluichí Gaelacha ar an gcampas.” Tá cuireadh tugtha ag Club Peile OÉ Gaillimh do lucht leanúna na peile ar fud an réigiúin a mbealach a dhéanamh go dtí an Daingean agus ionaid eile don deireadh seachtaine chun réaltaí an lae amárach a fheiceáil. CRÍOCH

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NUI Galway and Druid Announce Director-in-Residence

NUI Galway and Druid Announce Director-in-Residence -image

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

NUI Galway and Druid Theatre have announced the joint appointment of Thomas Conway as the first Director- in –Residence to be based between Druid Theatre and the School of Humanities at the University. The ‘Druid Director-in-Residence,’ will participate in the development of theatre and performance education at NUI Galway.  Speaking on his appointment, Mr Conway said:  “NUI Galway is moving into an ambitious and exciting phase in its aim to develop the next generation of Irish theatre practitioners – not the least of which is the partnership with Druid. It is an immense honour to me to be given a chance to play a part in this. It is clear that an appetite for theatre, dance and performing arts – and a real high quality engagement with them – is running through the university, from the students, the academics, and the practitioners working with them. As I take my first steps in the role, I am excited by the prospect of working with this amazing energy, and look forward to promoting and supporting it, and to feel supported by it in turn. I look forward to the good times ahead as Druid Director-in-Residence.”  Thomas Conway, a practising professional director, will particularly focus on enhancing the undergraduate programmes in drama at NUI Galway, including the new BA in Drama Theatre and Performance. He will also contribute to the MA in Drama and Theatre Studies as well as expanding the University’s current offerings in these areas. As well as teaching on the current drama and theatre programmes, Mr Conway will also coordinate workshops offered to the BA and MA programmes by members of the Druid Theatre Company, and will direct an annual student production with BA and MA students. Dr Patrick Lonergan, English Lecturer at the School of Humanities, NUI Galway: “Thomas Conway is admired throughout the Irish theatre community for his knowledge of drama – not just from Ireland but from around the world. He is also a superb teacher. NUI Galway is delighted to welcome him as part of our unique partnership with Druid Theatre, and looks forward to working with him in building links between the university and theatre practitioners at home and abroad. Thomas will make a key contribution to our partnership with Druid, helping us to advance our aim of identifying and educating the next generation of Irish theatre-makers.” Speaking of the announcement, Artistic Director of Druid Theatre Company, Garry Hynes said: "All of us at Druid look forward to this semester and working with Thomas Conway in his new role as Druid-Director-in-Residence. As a graduate of NUI Galway I am thrilled to see the students working so closely with me and my colleagues at Druid to help develop the next generation of theatre-makers.” The new BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies has recently been launched by NUI Galway and is designed for students with a keen interest in all aspects of drama and performance. It is a world-class programme, providing a unique opportunity to study drama, theatre and performance from a practical, theoretical and historical perspective. The first intake of students for the new BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies will be in September 2012. Applications will be accepted via the CAO process, on which the new course code is GY118.

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Major €14 million European Initiative to Develop the Potential of Seaweed as Biofuel

Major €14 million European Initiative to Develop the Potential of Seaweed as Biofuel-image

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Researchers at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute are involved in a major €14 million European initiative to develop the potential of algae as a source of sustainable energy.As a partner in the project, NUI Galway is responsible for the initial step of producing some of the biomass required for conversion to biofuel. This will be accomplished by cultivating macroalgae (seaweed) biomass at sea in a one-hectare pilot facility.Currently, algal bioenergy technologies are immature, but rapid advances are being made in the field. NUI Galway’s part of the ‘EnAlgae’ project is valued at almost €1.2 million, over the next four years.The project will focus on the cultivation of some of Ireland’s native kelp species (large brown seaweeds, commonly seen cast up on the beach after a storm). Growth of the seaweed crop occurs in two phases, the first phase of which is being carried out at the Ryan Institute’s Carna Research Station, Co. Galway.Dr Maeve Edwards, a research scientist at the Ryan Institute’s Carna facility, explains: “In our facilities here, microscopic stages of the algae are cultured and sprayed onto ropes. Once the seaweed has been ‘seeded’ onto hundreds of metres of rope, they are deployed at sea in the one-hectare experimental plot in Ventry Harbour, Co. Kerry.”Seaweed will also be cultivated in Northern Ireland (by Queen’s University Belfast) and Brittany, France (by Centre d’Etude et de Valorisation des Algues, CEVA). NUI Galway will coordinate the cultivation efforts between all three institutions.Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, commented: “Ireland and the European Union recognise the need to reduce our dependence on dwindling petroleum stocks and are promoting the use of biofuels. I am delighted to see that bright young researchers in the Ryan Institute have spotted the opportunity to engage in international and innovative research into a source of biomass - in this case, seaweed - whose conversion to biofuels could help in the transformation of the transport sector.”The four-year transnational Energetic Algae - or EnAlgae - project, led by Swansea University in Wales, is a strategic initiative funded by the INTERREG IVB North West Europe Programme via the European Regional Development Fund, together with a range of co-sponsors.EnAlgae involves 19 Partners and 13 Observers across eight EU member states; France, Belgium, UK, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, and aims to reduce CO2 emissions and dependency on unsustainable energy sources, through the accelerated development and deployment of algal-based biomass and bioenergy technologies.The project’s manager Dr Robin Shields, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) at Swansea University’s College of Science, said: “Thanks to close transnational cooperation, EnAlgae partners and stakeholders will gain access to those sustainable technologies most suited to their local operating conditions. As project lead partner, Swansea University is delighted to extend its industry-focused research on algal bioremediation and biorefinery technologies, in partnership with acknowledged experts from across North West Europe.”-ends- Olltionscnamh Eorpach €14m chun na féidearthachtaí a bhaineann le Feamainn mar Bhithbhreosla a fhorbairt Tá taighdeoirí in Institiúid Uí Riain in OÉ Gaillimh ag obair ar olltionscnamh Eorpach, ar fiú €14 milliún é, chun forbairt a dhéanamh ar algaí mar fhoinse fuinnimh in-athnuaite. Mar chomhpháirtí sa tionscadal, tá freagracht ar OÉ Gaillimh as an gcéad chéim a bhaineann le cuid den bhithmhais a tháirgeadh atá ag teastáil le tiontú go bithbhreosla. Déanfar é seo trí bhithmhais mhacralga (feamainn) a shaothrú san fharraige i saoráid phíolótach aon heicteár. Faoi láthair, tá teicneolaíochtaí bithfhuinnimh algaigh neamhaibí, ach táthar ag déanamh an-dul chun cinn sa réimse. Sna ceithre bliana atá le teacht, is fiú beagnach €1.2 milliún an pháirt atá ag OÉ Gaillimh sa tionscadal ‘EnAlgae’.  Díreoidh an tionscadal ar chuid de speiceas nádúrtha ceilpe na hÉireann (feamainn mhór dhonn, a fheictear caite ar thránna go minic i ndiaidh stoirme) a shaothrú. Fásann feamainn in dhá chéim, tá an chéad chéim ar siúl i Stáisiún Taighde Institiúid Uí Riain i gCarna, Co. na Gaillimhe. Deir an Dr Maeve Edwards, eolaí taighde i saoráid Institiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain i gCarna: “Inár saoráid anseo, saothraítear céimeanna micreascópacha de na halgaí agus spraeáiltear ar théada iad. Nuair a bhíonn an fheamainn ‘síolaithe’ ar na céadta méadar téide, forbraíonn siad san fharraige sa tsaoráid thurgnamhach aon heicteár i gCuan Fhionntrá, Co. Chiarraí.” Saothrófar feamainn i dTuaisceart Éireann chomh maith (faoi stiúir Ollscoil na Ríona, Béal Feirste) agus sa Bhriotáin, an Fhrainc (faoi stiúir Centre d’Etude et de Valorisation des Algues, CEVA). Déanfaidh OÉ Gaillimh comhordú ar na hiarrachtaí saothraithe idir na trí institiúid. Deir an tOllamh Colin Brown, Stiúrthóir Institiúid Uí Riain, OÉ Gaillimh: “Aithníonn Éire agus an tAontas Eorpach an gá atá ann gan a bheith ag brath an oiread ar na stoic pheitriliam atá ag laghdú de shíor agus tá siad ag cur úsáid bithbhreoslaí chun cinn. Tá an-áthas orm a fheiceáil gur thug taighdeoirí óga éirimiúla in Institiúid Uí Riain faoi deara an deis le bheith páirteach i dtaighde idirnáisiúnta agus nuálaíoch ar fhoinse bithmhaise – sa chás seo, feamainn – má athraítear feamainn go bithbhreosla d’fhéadfaí athrú ó bhonn a dhéanamh ar an earnáil iompair. Is tionscnamh straitéiseach maoinithe ag Clár Iar-Thuaisceart na hEorpa INTERREG IVB trí Chiste Forbraíochta Réigiúnaí na hEorpa, chomh maith le réimse comhurraitheoirí é Energetic Algae – EnAlgae. Is é Ollscoil Swansea sa Bhreatain Bheag atá mar cheann feadhna ar an tionscadal ceithre bliana trasnáisiúnta seo. Tá baint ag 19 gComhpháirtí agus 13 Bhreathnóir as ocht mballstát AE leis an tionscadal; an Fhrainc, an Bheilg, an Ríocht Aontaithe, an Ghearmáin, Éire, an Ísiltír, an Eilvéis, agus Lucsamburg. Tá sé mar aidhm ag an tionscadal astaíochtaí CO2 agus spleáchas ar fhoinsí fuinnimh in-athnuaite a laghdú, trí bhithmhais algaí agus trí theicneolaíochtaí bithfhuinnimh a fhorbairt agus a úsáid gan mhoill. Deir bainisteoir an tionscadail, an Dr Robin Shields, an Stiúrthóir, the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), i gColáiste na hEolaíochta in Ollscoil Swansea: “A bhuíochas le comhoibriú trasnáisiúnta, beidh teacht ag comhpháirtithe agus ag páirtithe leasmhara EnAlgae ar na teicneolaíochtaí inmharthana is mó a fheileann dá gcoinníollacha áitiúla féin. Mar phríomhpháirtí an tionscadail, tá an-áthas orainn in Ollscoil Swansea ár dtaighde, atá dírithe ar an tionscal, ar theicneolaíochtaí bithleigheasacháin agus bithscaglainne algaí a leathnú, i gcomhpháirt le saineolaithe aitheanta ó Iar-Thuaisceart na hEorpa.” -críoch-

>> Read full story about Major €14 million European Initiative to Develop the Potential of Seaweed as Biofuel

NFB Researchers Receive Prestigious Travel Awards in Distinguished Laboratories

NFB Researchers Receive Prestigious Travel Awards in Distinguished Laboratories-image

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Four researchers at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), NUI Galway, have been awarded Short-Term Travel Fellowships by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Bill Daly, Mohammad Abu-Rub, Dr Xuejun Hu and Shane Browne will travel to prestigious research institutes in the US and China to progressing NFB ambitions in the cardiac, neural and wound-healing fields.Shane Browne will travel to Harvard Medical School where he will work with Professor Richard Lee for six months on a study to demonstrate the efficacy of a biomaterial-based gene delivery system for treatment following myocardial infarction (heart attack). The complex delivery system addresses the inflammatory response and promotes healing following cardiac events. This system, which will enable re-modelling and re-vascularisation of damaged cardiac tissue, has already been developed at the NFB as part of Shane’s doctoral thesis. The work undertaken at Harvard will facilitate progression to Phase I clinical trials.Mohammad Abu-Rub and Bill Daly, both PhD students, will spend six months working withDr Simon Dillon at the Proteomics Facility at the Dana Faber Cancer Institute, part of the Harvard Medical School in the US. Mohammad’s PhD thesis is in the area of neural regeneration, and he has developed a platform technology, based on a hydrogel system, to target spinal cord injury at the cellular and molecular level. Bill’s work will focus on neural cell behaviour on engineered scaffolds. He has already developed a novel, collagen-based technology as a solution to neural tissue damage in the peripheral nervous system, resulting from injury or neural degenerative diseases. Postdoctoral researcher Dr Xuejun Hu’s studies are centred on the development of a gene therapy to promote skin regeneration. This new therapy is of potential benefit to patients of Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (RDEB). RDEB is a condition characterised by hard-to-heal, chronic wounds which can leave patients in constant pain. Xuejun will spend three months working at Dalian Medical University, China, with Professor Qi Wang, in order to further develop this gene therapy, determining which gene vector will be constructed, with a view to improved treatment for RDEB patients. According to Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB: “Travel awards allow researchers to undertake training and gain skills in leading edge technologies which they can later apply when they return to Ireland.”The four researchers are supervised by Professor Abhay Pandit and Dr. Wenxin Wang, of the NFB at NUI Gawlay, an SFI-funded Strategic Research Cluster. The NFB, which includes national and international academic and industry partners, aims to design the next generation of functional biomaterials, providing clinical solutions to unmet clinical needs. ENDS

>> Read full story about NFB Researchers Receive Prestigious Travel Awards in Distinguished Laboratories

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