Five NUI Galway Researchers Among Ireland’s Most Promising Young Scientific Talent in €23 Million Announcement

Five NUI Galway Researchers Among Ireland’s Most Promising Young Scientific Talent in €23 Million Announcement-image

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock T.D., has today announced €23 million in new funding to help support 40 of Ireland’s most promising young research talent to become fully independent researchers. Included are five individuals from NUI Galway who have secured funding to the value of almost €3 million. The funding, which is being awarded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), will encourage Ireland’s most talented young researchers to remain in Ireland, while also helping to attract excellent young researchers from other countries to base themselves here. Minister Sherlock said:“Funding for researchers at the outset of their careers is an important element of the Government’s strategy for job creation in research and innovation under our Action Plan for Jobs. SFI’s funding schemes for early career researchers help ensure that excellent research with the potential for real economic and societal impact is properly supported in Ireland. Investment like this is important for Ireland’s developing international reputation for excellent research with impact. The 40 research projects being awarded by SFI today demonstrate the enormous talent and potential that exists among Ireland’s young researchers”. The €23 million in funding delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through SFI’s Starting Investigator Research Grant, and Career Development Award, will support researchers and post-graduate students. Two individuals at NUI Galway have received the Career Development Award (CDA) which aims to support early and mid-career researchers who already hold a salaried, independent research post and who are looking to expand their research activities: Dr Peter Crowley, School of Chemistry, for his project ‘Supramolecular Approaches to Protein Surface Recognition and Self Assembly’. This is Dr Crowley’s second funding of late from SFI, having recently been given an award to help increase his potential to attract EU funding. Dr Jamie Goggins, Civil Engineering, for his project ‘Achieving nearly zero energy buildings - A life cycle assessment approach to retrofitting existing buildings’. A further three researchers at NUI Galway have received Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG), which provides support for excellent postdoctoral researchers who wish to take steps towards a fully independent research career: Dr Subhadip Bodhak for the project ‘Multifunctional Nanofibrous Patch for Intervertebral Disc Regeneration’. Dr Sebastian Gornik for his work in the epigenetic basis of stem cell maintenance and cellular differentiation in the cnidarian Hydractinia. Dr Margaretha van der Merwe for her work in ‘Leveraging the Evolutionary Epigenetic Landscape for Understanding Regulatory Mechanisms of Abiotic Stress Tolerance’. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, welcomed the announcement: “We are delighted to see that NUI Galway’s talented faculty are being acknowledged by SFI through CDA awards. We will also enrich our pool of young research stars by bringing SIRG Fellows to join excellent research teams in the University”. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Both of the programmes under which funding is being announced today will help promising young researchers to create and develop impactful careers here in Ireland and in turn enable the pursuit of scientific research that has potential economic and societal impact. These programmes are also an important factor in ensuring that Ireland can succeed in persuading top young scientific talent from abroad to base their research efforts here in Ireland”. -ends-

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NUI Galway Academic Recognised as One of Ireland's Top Women in Technology

NUI Galway Academic Recognised as One of Ireland's Top Women in Technology-image

Monday, 7 July 2014

Catherine Cronin, Academic Co-ordinator of online IT programmes and Lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway, has been named as one the top role models of 2014 among women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in Ireland. This was awarded by Silicon Republic, who recently drew up a list of the Top 100 Women in STEM in Ireland, and Catherine was presented with the award for Top Role Model of 2014 in Social Media. The list consisted of world-leading academics to inspiring science communicators, from tech business leaders to early entrepreneurs, in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths. Catherine’s work focuses on online and open education, digital literacies, and social media in education. In addition to her teaching and research, she works with schools and community groups, including Coder Dojo, exploring these areas. She is currently pursuing a PhD in open education and digital identity practices. She holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering, Masters of Engineering in Systems Engineering, and MA in women's studies, where her dissertation topic was gender and technology. Using the Twitter hashtag #ITwomen, she created several resources including a list of women keynote speakers as a resource for those planning gender-inclusive tech conferences. Speaking at the award ceremony, Catherine said: “As a long-time advocate for girls and women in STEM, it was an honour to receive this award from Silicon Republic. Women continue to represent less than 20% of all physicists, engineers and IT professionals. Encouraging girls and women to consider STEM and providing role models and mentors are just the first steps toward changing this. Our goal must be to create an inclusive STEM culture – beginning with noticing and challenging gender and other stereotypes, and under-representation, wherever we are. Imagine STEM classrooms, labs, workplaces and conferences with a truly diverse range of people and standpoints – all working together to solve problems and to create solutions. That’s my vision of success for the future.” -Ends-

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NUI Galway and SmartBay Funding Success to Examine Galway Bay Marine Environment

NUI Galway and SmartBay Funding Success to Examine Galway Bay Marine Environment-image

Monday, 7 July 2014

Researchers based in NUI Galway have recently been awarded a highly prestigious research funding from the Irish Research Council through the Enterprise Partnership Scheme. In partnership with SmartBay Ireland, an investment of €96,000 has been made which will bring together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Discipline of Information Technology, NUI Galway and the Department of Chemical Sciences in Dublin City University to develop a number of research streams that utilise the National Marine Test and Demonstration Facility, managed by SmartBay Ireland.  The Primary Investigators from NUI Galway are Dr Enda Howley and Dr Jim Duggan, while Professor Fiona Regan is leading the researchers from DCU. John Breslin and Regina McNulty will lead the research team on behalf of SmartBay Ireland.  NUI Galway researchers will begin development on accurate data visualisations of Galway Bay marine environment that can leverage the existing SmartBay infrastructure and accurate weather data. The outcomes of this research will be of pivotal use to key stakeholders such as members of the public, emergency response agencies, city and marine professionals. At the announcement of the funding Dr Enda Howley commented: “The project is a great vote of confidence by the IRC in the researchers involved in this area. This major investment shows the capacity of NUI Galway to partner on interdisciplinary research projects that have huge potential to impact on people’s daily lives. This particular research project based in NUI Galway aims to develop technologies that can assist all those who are potentially impacted by the marine conditions surrounding our cities. The chilling impact of this could be seen earlier this year in Galway City where extensive damage was inflicted by flood waters at Leisureland in Salthill and businesses at the Spanish Arch. Any technology that can assist us in better understanding the potential impact of coastal marine events can have a major long-term impact.” John Breslin from SmartBay Ireland said: “We were delighted to secure four enterprise-academia research partnerships through the Irish Research Council's, Enterprise Partnership Scheme. SmartBay Ireland will support the successful students in a wide variety of research areas, such as: data visualisation from our sub-sea cabled observatory; flood management analytics; the development of materials to mitigate the effects of marine growth and the detection of harmful algae blooms. All projects will utilise the National Marine Test and Demonstration Facility managed by SmartBay Ireland in Galway Bay.  The SmartBay team will provide data and technical support to ensure the success of these applied projects.” The announcement was made in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland last month by Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock TD and Dr Eucharia Meehan. Awards to the sum of €5.7m were made by the IRC through the Enterprise Partnership Scheme. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Offers Free Places on Software Development Programme with 90%+ Employment Rate

NUI Galway Offers Free Places on Software Development Programme with 90%+ Employment Rate -image

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

NUI Galway, in collaboration with 16 software industry partners, is offering a limited number of free places on its innovative Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme. Student fees for the course are funded by the Higher Education Authority given the strategic importance of developing skills in this area. Successful applicants therefore, pay no fees, only a student levy of €224. 90% of Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development graduates have secured employment. Many of the graduates are employed with some of Ireland’s leading software companies. NUI Galway has designed this one year conversion programme in conjunction with 16 leading IT employers which enables graduates to reskill for employment in the software development area. The overall goal of this postgraduate conversion programme is to strategically increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high-growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience. The Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region, and will provide graduates with a solid foundation in key areas of software design, a choice of software architecture specialisations in either .NET or Java Enterprise. The final aspect of the course involves a guaranteed three-month paid internship to gain industry experience, and as a result provides the opportunity to kick-start your career as a software developer. Each student progresses through the course will have their training content determined by their associated industry partner. On completion of the course, these students will have transformed their employability in the current economy, with a range of great options opening up to them for further progression either in industry or via more specialisation through a masters.  The industry partners include Avaya, IBM, Accenture, Cisco, Fidelity Investments, INSIGHT, Storm Technologies, The Marine Institute, Solano Tech Ltd, NetFort Technologies and Schneider Electric. Dr Enda Howley, Course Director, said “This is a fantastic opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates particularly from engineering and science beckgrounds, to invest just one year of their time in further education, and, through placement experience with our Industry partners; they will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high tech ICT sector. This sector is experiencing rapid expansion at the moment, and there is a growing skills shortage for ICT graduate roles that these students are ideally suited to fill.” He added “It is estimated that there will be 900,000 unfilled vacancies in the EU for ICT professionals by 2015. Now is a perfect time for people to reskill for employment in this sector. The economy is full of very talented and enthusiastic engineering or science graduates who unfortunately are finding it difficult to find employment due to a skills mismatch. But these people are ideally suited for a career in the ICT sector, and simply require some targeted training. Take for example, civil engineers. They are known for their great problem solving abilities, and having a can-do attitude. These are often the most sought after, and hard to find skills for software developers.” “The Higher Diploma programme was recently a finalist for two national GradIreland Awards under two categories ‘Best New Course’ and ‘Best IT Programme’, so we are particularly proud of the recognition the programme has been receiving since its launch in 2012”, continued Dr Howley. The programme is open to all those who have a level 8 degree or alternatively those with a level 7 degree and has some relevant industry work experience. The programme is ideal for those from a Science or Engineering background, and relish challenges along the lines of problem solving or project work. NUI Galway is now processing applications and those interested can make their application through www.springboardcourses.ie, or seek more information via the twitter account @hdipindustry.  Significant interest in this free course is expected and early application is advisable. Deadline for final applications is Friday, 18 July. For further information contact the Programme Director, Dr Enda Howley at ehowley@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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Second Level Students Experience a Day in the Life of an NUI Galway Student

Second Level Students Experience a Day in the Life of an NUI Galway Student -image

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Discipline of Information Technology at NUI Galway recently held a Computer Science and Information Technology Experience Day for second level students. Students were shown the state of the art facilities that are provided in NUI Galway for undergraduate students. Throughout the day the students were introduced to a range of taster events from all aspects of student life in NUI Galway. Guest lectures were followed by practical workshops in the IT Building by NUI Galway lecturers, Dr Enda Howley and Dr Conor Hayes. Students were also treated to a tour of the National Computer and Communications Museum and met many of the researchers from Insight, the Research Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway.  The event was organised by Dr Enda Howley, Dr Conor Hayes and Tina Earls from the Discipline of Information Technology at NUI Galway. Dr Enda Howley said: “We are always delighted to open our doors here in NUI Galway to second level students and help them to make better informed decisions about their second level subjects and ultimately their CAO choices. Each year we enroll about 60 students in our BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology Degree (GY350) and events such as this are always hugely significant towards assisting students make important decisions about their CAO choices. We have the opportunity to inform them about the great opportunies currently available in software development. We were particularly delighted to welcome students that travelled huge distances from the opposite side of the country to attend our very successful Experience Day.” For more information about studying Comuter Science and Information Technology at NUI Galway visit www.it.nuigalway.ie or GY350 on the CAO applications system. -Ends-

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Another successful year for NUI Galway Computing Summer Camp

Another successful year for NUI Galway Computing Summer Camp-image

Monday, 23 June 2014

Pictured at NUI Galway’s recent Computing Summer Camp were (l-r): Rachel Kavanagh, Presentation College Headford, Áine Madden, Coláiste na Coiribe, Serena O’Connell, Dominican College, Taylor's Hill, Emily Macken and Ciara Madden, both of Calasanctius College, Oranmore. Since it was initiated in 2010, over 300 students from across Dublin, Kerry, Donegal, Mayo and Galway have attended the Computing Summer Camp, which is sponsored through a Higher Education Authority (HEA) initiative. Designed and delivered by staff and post-graduate researchers in Information Technology, it introduces computing in a novel, fun and interactive way. The camp students participated in a number of activities including writing computer games, building and programming autonomous robots, and making 3D computer models.  This year, over 40 secondary students attended the 2014 Summer Camp allowing them the opportunity to get sense of the exciting possibilities in computer science and information technology, and an insight into the range of topics that form part of the highly successful BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology.

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