President's Message - June 2020 

A chairde,

Our university community’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has been extraordinary. Over four very challenging months, our staff, students and alumni have coalesced to sustain our university mission: we continue with our teaching, research, work, studies and essential services as best we can. We should be rightly proud of our collective achievements.

Our people have shown time and again an innate creativity, kindness and community spirit in responding to the pandemic. We see that clearly in our researchers’ responses to the pandemic – devising new ways of sharing medical devices and protective equipment, providing reliable information on symptoms and debunking health myths, and collecting and analysing data to shape policy for our social and economic recovery. We see it in the new ways our lecturers and support services help our students through online learning supports, remote assessment, telephone campaigns and supports for students living away from home. We have also witnessed our spirit of volunteerism, illustrated by over a hundred staff and students volunteering with the HSE to co-ordinate PPE for the West of Ireland, and to run a contact tracing centre on campus and a swab testing centre at Galway airport.

I invite you to find out more about this incredible response. I hope you agree that together our university community, NUI Galway, is delivering on our promise to be a university for our time, for the public good.

I am also delighted to let you know that NUI Galway has risen 21 places in QS World University Rankings, establishing our university once again within the top 1% of universities in the world. This announcement provides welcome news during these uncertain times, and reflects the commitment of our campus community to the highest standards in our work.  We stand with gratitude on the shoulders of those who have gone before, including you, our alumni. Thank you. Read more.

Stay well and safe.

Go raibh maith agaibh,

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh

Uachtarán - President

President's Message - April 2020 

A chairde,

As the world comes together in the fight against COVID-19, I want to update you on NUI Galway and our community’s resourcefulness and resolve in responding to the emergency.

Access to all our NUI Galway campuses was restricted from Thursday 12 March and our campuses closed on Friday 29 March. However, we have not closed to our purpose to serve the public good. We have not closed to our mission, teaching, research and engaging in and for the world. Since then, the action and expertise, the selflessness and kindness that our staff, students and alumni have shown in these challenging times has been truly humbling. It gives us great reason to be proud of our university community.

One particularly inspiring example was set by staff who responded to a call from the Department of Health seeking assistance from people with clinical expertise combined with education/training skills. They received a great response, and staff with those skills are now supporting the national effort by training others being redeployed to carry out contact tracing work. Many other staff and PhD researchers have joined a University Volunteers list to be assigned to particularly busy university services and HSE contact tracing. Meanwhile, many of our students in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences are continuing with their placements with the HSE, actively contributing to over-stretched services in our hospitals across the country.

In that context, I would like to pay a special tribute to our healthcare and other workers, many of whom are our colleagues and alumni, who are at the front line of this unprecedented national emergency. In solidarity, we thank you for your profound service. It is greatly appreciated.

Great flexibility has been shown too in maintaining our academic mission and in our efforts to reduce the impact of the University closure on our students. We paused lectures during the week of St Patrick’s Day to help prepare the move to online teaching and assessment. Lectures are back now with all courses providing teaching materials remotely so that our students can continue to learn, while protecting their health. I commend staff across our Colleges and Schools for their flexibility and commitment.

Our researchers too have played a very significant part. They have responded to national calls for multidisciplinary research to tackle the impact of COVID-19 from multiple perspectives. One particularly impactful group is the NUI Galway spin-out company Aquila Bioscience who have created a decontamination wipe now in use across the Irish Defence Forces.

Our support service staff have also been working hard to assist in our efforts. They are continuing to provide remote student services like Counselling and Student Health advice, maintaining IT systems, supporting international students in campus accommodation, and making our campus facilities available to the HSE and others as part of the national response to COVID-19. We thank all of our support service staff for their efforts in maintaining University systems and services during these challenging times.

The international spread of COVID-19 has impacted every corner of the planet and we keep our global network of alumni in our thoughts. We hope that you and your loved ones are keeping well and are being supported during this difficult time. One NUI Galway alumni that stands out in our minds and sits in our hearts is Mike Ryan,who is leading the response of the World Health Organisation to the coronavirus outbreak in his role as Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme. We are proud that one of our own is leading the response to the COVID-19 emergency with such expertise and empathy.

This is a major global crisis that is impacting us locally and we are very mindful of the role our university has as a leading institution in Galway and more widely. Ultimately, we are here for our students and to serve the public good. In solidarity, we thank all the members of our university community who provide a profound service at this time. It is greatly appreciated.

Our primary focus right now is on the health and wellbeing of our community. I ask that you prioritise this as your main concern. There are many vulnerable, older and sick people living in our communities, and mindful of public health, I suggest that we all look out for each other, help each other, and be kind with each other. Let’s give each other the space to find our way through these challenging times and the time to find humanity and meaning here too.  We are reminded at times like this of the wisdom first attributed to the Sufi poets and to Jewish tradition, challenging and comforting in turn, ‘this too shall pass’.

Thank you for your flexibility and fortitude. Thank you for your kindness.

Stay well and safe.

Go raibh maith agaibh,

Ciarán

An tOllamh/Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh

Uachtarán, OÉ Gaillimh

President, NUI Galway